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University of Nortii Carolina at Chapel Hill 












Copyright, 1898, by 





F. L. P. 




The Region zvliere the Grays and Carys lived lies 
too far from the centres of modern progress to be 
laid down on any map that will be accessible. And, 
as ^^ he who maps an undiscovered country may place 
what boimdaries he willy* it tieed only be said, that 
it lies in the South, somewhere in that vague region 
partly in one of the old Southern States and partly 
in the yet vaguer land of Memory. It zvill be spoken 
of in this story, as Dr. Cccry, General Legale, and 
the other people who used to live there in old times, 
spoke of it, in zvarm affection, as, *^the old County," 
or, "the Red Rock section,'' or just, "My country, sir." 

It was a goodly land in those old times — a rolling 
country, lying at the foot of the blue moiuitain- spurs, 
with forests and fields ; rich meadows filled with fat 
cattle ; zvatered by streams, sparkling and bubbling 
over rocks, or winding under willows and sycamores, 
to where the hills melted away in the lozv, alluvial 
lands, zvhere the sea once washed and still left its 
memory and its name. 

The people of that section were the prodiict of a 
system of which it is the fashion nowadays to have 


only zvords of condemnation. Every ass that passes 
by kicks at the dead lion. It zvas an Oligarchy, they 
say, tvJiicJi ruled and lorded it over all bnt those 
favored ones who belonged to it. B2it has one ever 
known the ^nembers of a Democracy to rule so justly ? 
If they shone in prosperity, much more they shone in 
adversity ; if they bore themselves haughtily in their 
day of triumph, they have borne defeat ivith splendid 
fortitude. Their old family seats, with everything 
else in the world, were lost to them — their dignity 
became grandeur. Their entire system crumbled and 
fell aboict them in ruins — they remained unmoved. 
They were subjected to the greatest humiliation of 
modern times : their slaves were put over them — they 
reconquered their section and preserved the civiliza- 
tion of the Anglo-Saxon. 

No doubt the phrase " Before the war " is at times 
somewhat abused. It is just possible that there is a 
certain Caleb Osbaldistonism in the speech at times. 
But for those who knew the old County as it ivas 
then, and can contrast it zvith what it has become 
since, no woider it seems that even the mooidigJit zvas 
richer and mellower ^'before the zvar" than it is notv. 
For one thing, the moonlight as zvell as the sunlight 
shines brighter in our youth than in maturer age ; 
and gold and gossamer amid the rose-bozvcrs refect it 
better than serge and crepe amid myrtles and bays. 
The great tiling is 7iot to despond even though the 
brilliancy be dimmed: in the nezv glitter one need not 
necessarily forget the old radiance. Happily, zvhen 
one of the wise men insists that it shall be forgotten^ 


and that we shall be wise also, like him, it works 
automatically, and zve know that he is one of those 
who, as has been said, avoiding the land of romance, 
" have missed the title of fool at the cost of a celes- 
tial crown." 

Why should not Miss Thomasia in her faded dress, 
whom you shall meet, tell us, if she pleases, of her 
'■^dear father ^ and of all her '■^ dear cousins'' to the 
remotest generation ; and Dr. Cary and General Legale 
quote their gratidfathers as oracles, alongside the sages 
of Plutarch, and say ''Sir" and ''Madam" at the 
end of their sentences? Antiquated, yo7i say f Provin- 
cial ? Do you, young lady, observe Miss Thomasia 
the next time she enters a room, or addresses a ser- 
vant ; and do you, good sir, polished by travel and con- 
tact with the most fashionable — second-class — society 
of two continents, watch General Legale and Dr. Cary 
whe?i they meet Miss Thomasia, or greet the apple- 
zvoman oti the corner, or the wagoner on the road. 
What an air suddenly comes in laith them of old 
Courts and polished halls wlicyi all getitlemen bowed 
lotv before all ladies, and wore sivords to defend their 
honor. What an odor, as it ivere, of those gardens 
which Watteau painted, floats in as they enter I Do 
not you attempt it. You cannot do it. You are think- 
ing of yourself, they of others and the devoirs they 
owe them. You are republican and broiight up to 
consider yourself "as good as afiy, and better than 
most." So2ind doctrine for the citizen, no doubt; but 
it spoils the bow. Even you. Miss or Madam, for all 
your silks and satins, cannot do it like Miss Thomasia. 


Vou are imitating the duchess you saw once, perhaps, 
in Hyde Park. The duchess ivould have imitated 
Miss Thomasia. You are at best an imitation; Miss 
TJwmasia is the reality. Do not laiigJi at her, or 
call her provincial. She belongs to the realm where 
sincerity dwells and the heart still rules — tJie reahn 
of old-time courtesy and high breeding, and you are 
the real provincial. It is a wide realm, though ; and 
some day, if Heaven be good to you, you may reach 
it. But it must be by the highway of Siticerity and 
Truth. No other road leads there. 



I. In which there aiie Several Introductions, . 1 

II. In which Two Stkangeus Visit Red Rock and 

ARE Invited to Come Again, . . . .11 

III. The Visitors start South again, and their For- 

mer Hosts go to Meet Them, . . . .33 

IV. In which a Long Jump is Taken, .... 49 

V. Dr. Gary Returns from the War, and Takes an 

Inventory op Stock, 56 

VI. A Broken Soldier Comes Home from War, , . G3 

VII. The Cary Conference, 78 

VIII. Mr. Hiram Still Tells how to Bridle a Shy 

Horse, and Captain Allen lays down His Hoe, 8G 

IX. Mr. Jonadab Leech turns up with a Carpet-bag 

and Opens His Bureau, 9G 

X. The Provost Makes Hrs First Move, . . . 107 

XI. The Provost Catches a Tartar, and Captain Mid- 

dleton Seeks the Consolations op Religion, 118 

XII. Captain Allfcn takes the Oath op Allegiance 

and Jacquelin Gray loses His Buttons and 

some Old Papers, 139 




XIII. Steve Allen learns Miss Thomasia's Secket 

AND Forswears Cards, ..... 155 

XIV. Leech Secures an Order and Loses it, . . 1G2 

XV. Captain Middleton has a Test op Peace, and 

IS Ordered West, 175 

XVI. The New Troop Mkets the Enemy, . . . 186 

XVII. Jacquelin Gray goes on a Long Voyage and 

Red Rock passes out of His Hands, . . 195 

XVIII. Leech as a Statesman and Dr. Gary as a Col- 
lector OP Bills, . , . . . . 207 

XIX. Hiram Still Collects His Debts, . . 216 

XX. Leech looks Higher and gets a Fall, . . 228 

XXI. Dr. Cary meets an Old College Mate and 
learns that the athenians also practise 
Hospitality, 241 

XXII. Jacquelin Gray comes Home and Claims a 

Graveyard, 252 

XXIII. Two New Residents come to the County, . 264 

XXIV. The Travellers are Entertained in a Farm- 

house, 280 

XXV. The Trick-Doctor 289 

XXVI. Major Welch and Ruth Become Residents, . 294 

XXVII. Hiram Still gets a Legal Opinion and Cap- 
tain Allen Climbs for Cherries, . . 301 



XXVIII. Mrs. Welch Arrives and gives Her first Les- 
son IN Enterprise, 320 

XXIX. Mrs. Welch Enters the Harvest, . . . 330 

XXX. Some op the Grain Mrs. Welch Reaped, . 347 

XXXI. Jacqdelin Gray Learns that He is a Fool, 

AND Steve Astonishes Major Welch, . 865 

XXXII. A Cut Direct and a Rejected Address, . . 385 

XXXIII. Blair Gary Saves a Rival School, . . . 398 

XXXIV. Leech and Still make a Move, and two 

Women Check them, 410 

XXXV. Captain Allen finds Rupert and Breaks the 

Law, 423 

XXXVI. Mr. Still Offers a Compromise, and a Bluff, 436 

XXXVII. In which it is Shown that, in a Trial, Coun- 

XXXVIII. In which Mr. Leech Springs a Trap with 

MUCH Success, 472 

XXXIX. Captain Allen claims the Reward Leech 

Offered, 500 

XL. Jacquelin Gray and Andy Stamper pat an 

Old Debt 512 

XLI. Dr. Cary Writes a Letter to an Old Friend, 521 

XLII. Captain Allen Surrenders, .... 528 

XLIII. Miss Welch Hears a Piece of News, . . 538 



XLIV. MiDDLETON Revisits Red Rock, and an Old 

Soldier lays down His Arms, . . . 544 

XLV. Captain Allen has an Unexpected Visitor, . 559 

XLVI. The Old Lawyer Declines to Surprise the 

Court, and Surprises Leech, . . . 572 

XLVII. Some op the Threads are Tied, . . . 579 








HIGH, 96 

















The old Gray plantation;, '' Red Rock/' lay at the high- 
est part of the rich rolling country, before it rose too ab- 
ruptly in the wooded foothills of the blue mountains away 
to the westward. As everybody in the country knew, Avho 
knew anything, it took its name from the great red stain, 
as big as a blanket, which appeared on the huge bowlder 
in the grove, beside the family grave-yard, at the far end of 
the Red Rock gardens. And as was equally well known, or 
equally well believed, which amounted almost to the same 
thing, that stain was the blood of the Indian chief who had 
slain the wife of the first Jacquelin Gray who came to this 
part of the world : the Jacquelin who had built the first 
house at Red Rock, around the fireplace of which the pres- 
ent mansion was erected, and whose portrait, with its pierc- 
ing eyes and fierce look, hung in a black frame over the 
mantel, and used to come down as a warning when any peril 
impended above the house. 

The bereft husband had exacted swift retribution of the 
murderer, on that very rock, and the Indian's heart blood 
had left that deep stain in the darker granite as a perpet- 
ual memorial of the swift vengeance of the Jacquelin Grays. 

This, at least, was what was asserted and believed by tlie 
old negroes (and, perhaps, by some of the whites, too, a 
little). And if the negroes did not know, who did ? So 
Jacquelin often pondered. 



Steve Allen, who was always a reckless talker, however, 
used to say that the stain was nothing but a bit of red sand- 
stone which had outcropped at the point where that huge 
fragment was broken off, and rolled along by a glacier 
thousands of years ago, far to the northward ; but this view 
was to the other children's minds clearly untenable ; for 
there never could have been any glacier there — glaciers, as 
they knew from their geographies, being confined to Swit- 
zerland, and the world having been created only six thousand 
years ago. The children were well grounded by their 
mothers and Miss Thomasia in Bible history. Besides, 
there was the picture of the '^ Indian-killer," in the black 
frame nailed in the wall over the fireplace in the great 
hall, and one could not go anywhere in the hall without 
his fierce eyes following you with a look so intent and 
piercing that Mammy Celia was wont to use it half Jest- 
ingly as a threat effectual with little Jacquelin when he 
was refractory — that if he did not mind, the ' ' Indian- 
killer" would see him and come after him. IIow often 
Mammy Celia employed it with Jacquelin, and how severe 
she used to be with tall, reckless Steve, because he scoffed 
at the story, and to tease her, threatened, with ajopropriate 
gesture, to knock the picture out of the frame, and see what 
was in the secret cabinet behind it ! What T,'ould have 
liappened had Steve carried out his threat, Jacquelin, as a 
boy, quite trembled to think ; for thougii he admired Steve, 
his cousin, above all other mortals, as any small boy admires 
one several years his senior, who can ride wild horses and 
do things he cannot do, this would have been to engage in 
a contest with something supernatural and not mortal. 
Still he used to urge Steve to do it, with a certain fascinat- 
ing apprehensiveness that made the chills creep up and 
down his back. Besides, it would have been very interest- 
ing to know whether the Indian's scalp was still in the hol- 
low space behind the picture, and if so, whether it was still 
bleeding, and that red stain on the bottom of the frame Avas 
really blood. 


Jacqnelin Gray — the one who figures in these pages — was 
born while his father, and his father's cousin, Dr. Cary, 
of Birdwood, and Mr. Legaie were in Mexico, winning re- 
no v/n in tliose battles which helped to establish the security 
of the United States. He grew uj? to be just Avhat most 
other boys of his station, statnre, and blood, living on a 
plantation, under similar conditions, would have been. 
He was a hale, hearty boy, who adored his cousin, Steve 
Allen, because Steve was older and stronger than he ; de- 
spised Blair Cary because she was a girl; disliked Wash 
Still, the overseer's son, partly because Steve sneered at 
him, and partly because the negro boys disliked him, and 
envied every cart-driver and stable-boy on the place. He 
used to drive with string " lines " two or four or six of liis 
black boon companions, giving them the names of his 
father's horses in the stable ; or sometimes, even the names 
of those steeds of which his Aunt Thomasia, a famous 
story-teller, told him in the hour before the candles were 
lighted. But if he drove the black boys in harness, it 
was because they let him do it, and not because he was 
their master. If he possessed any privileges or power, he 
did not know it. If anything, he thought the advan- 
tage rather on their side than on his, as they could play all 
the time, while he had to go to school to his Aunt Tho- 
masia, whose bell he thought worse than any curfew ; for 
that rang only at night, while Miss Thomasia's bell was 
sure to tinkle just at the moment when he was having the 
most beautiful time in the world. How gladly would he 
have exchanged places to mind the cows and ride the 
horses to the stable, and be free all day long ; and when- 
ever he could slip off he was with the boys, emulating 
them and being adored by them. 

Once, indeed, his mastership appeared. "Wash Still, 
the overseer's son, who was about Steve's age, used to bully 
the smaller boys, and one day when Jacquelin was play- 
ing about the blacksmith's shop, Wash, who was wait- 
ing for a horse to be shod, twisted the arm of Doan, one 


of Jacqueliu's sable team, until the boy whimpered. 
Jacquelin never knew just how it happened, but a sudden 
fulness came over him ; he seized a hatchet lying by, and 
made an onslaught on Wash, which came near performing 
on that youngster the same operation that Wash's au- 
gust namesake performed on the celebrated cherry-tree. 
Jacquelin received a tremendous whipping from his father 
for his vicious attack ; but his defence saved his sable 
companions from any further imposition than his own, 
and Wash was shortly sent ofE by his father to school. 

As to learning, Jacquelin was not very apt. It was only 
when Blair Gary came over one winter and went to school 
to Miss Thomasia — and he was laughed at by everyone, 
particularly by Steve, because Blair, a girl several years 
younger than he, could read Latin better — that Jacquelin 
really tried to stud}'. Though no one knew it, many of 
the things that Jacquelin did were done in the hope that 
Steve might think well of him ; and whether it was riding 
wild colts, with tlie certainty of being thrown and pos- 
sibly hurt; diving into deep pools with the prospect of 
being drowned, or doing anything else that he was afraid 
to do, it was almost sure that it was done because of 

With some natures the mere performance of an action is 
sufficient reward : that man suffers martyrdom ; this one 
does a great act ; another lives a devoted, saint's life, im- 
pelled solely from within, and with no other idea than to 
perform nobly. But these are rare natures : the Christo- 
phers, a Kempises and Theresas of the world. Tlie com- 
mon herd must have some more material motive : " wine, 
or sleep, or praise." That charge was led because a dark — 
or blonde-haired girl was waiting somewhere ; that gate 
was blown up because an army was standing by, and a 
small cross might be worn on the breast for it ; that poem 
was written for Lalage, or Laura, Stella, or Saccharissa. 
Even the saint was crowned, because somewhere, in retired 
monasteries or in distant cities, deeds were sure to be 


known at last. So, now it is a big boy's praise, and later 
on d fair girl's favor ; now the plaudits of the playground, 
and a few years hence salvos of artillery and the thanks 
of the people. And who shall say they are not worthy 
motives ? We are but men, and only the highest win 
even these rewards. 

Steve Allen had come to Eed Eock before Jacqnelin 
could remember — the year after Steve's father was killed 
in Mexico, leading his company up the heights of Cerro 
Gordo, and his mother died of fever far down South. Mr. 
Gray had brought the boy home on his mother's death ; 
so Steve was part of Eed Eock. Everybody spoiled him, 
particularly Miss Thomasia, who made him her especial 
charge and was notoriously partial to him, and old Peggy, 
Steve's "Momma," as she was called, who had come from 
the far South with him, and with her sharp eyes and 
sharper tongue was ready to fight the world for him. 

Steve was a tall, brown-haired young fellow, as straight 
as a sapling, and with broad shoulders ; gray eyes that 
could smile or flash ; teeth as white as snow, and a chin 
that Dr. Gary used to say he must have got from his 
mother. He was as supple as an eel. He could turn 
back-somersaults like a circus man, and as he was without 
fear, so he was v/ithout reverence. He would tease Miss 
Thomasia, and play practical jokes on Mr. Gray and Dr. 
Gary. To show his contempt for the " Indian-Killer," lie 
went alone and spent the night on the bloody rock, and 
when the other boys crept in a body to see if he were really 
there, he was found by the little party of scared searchers 
to be tranquilly asleep on the " Indian-Killer's " very grave. 
This and similar acts gained Steve Allen, with some, the 
credit of being in a sort of compact vnth the spirit of 
darkness, and several of the old negroes on the plantation 
began to tell of his wonderful powers, a reputation which 
Steve was not slow to improve ; and afterward, many a 
strange, unearthly sound, that scared the negroes, jxnd 
ghostly manifestations which went the rounds of the plan- 


tation might possibly have been traced to Steve's fertile 

The only jjersons on the place who did not get on well 
with Steve were Hiram Still, the manager, and his son, 
Wash. Between them and Steve there was declared en- 
mity, if not open war. Steve treated Hiram with super- 
ciliousness, and Wash with open contempt. The old 
negroes — who remembered Steve's father. Captain Allen, 
Mr. Gray's cousin, and the dislike between him and Hiram 
— said it was " bred in the bone." 

At length Steve went off to school to Dr. Maule, at 
" The Academy," as it was called, no further designation 
being needed to distinguish it, as no other academies could 
for a moment have entered into competition with it, and 
there was a temporary suspension of the supernatural man- 
ifestations on the plantation. Jacquelin missed him sorely 
and tried to imitate him in many things ; but he knew it 
was a poor imitation, for often he could not help being 
afraid, whilst Steve did not know what fear was. Jacque- 
lin's knees would shake, and his teetli sometimes chatter, 
whilst Steve performed his most dangerous feats with 
mantling cheeks and dancing eyes. However, the boy 
kept on, and began to do things simply because he was 
afraid. One day he read how a great general, named Mar- 
shal Turenne, on being laughed at because his knees were 
shaking as he mounted his horse to go into battle, replied 
that if his knees knew where he was going to take them 
that day they would shake still more. This incident helped 
Jacquelin mightily, and he took his knees into many dan- 
gerous places. In time this had its effect, and as his knees 
began to shake less he began to grow more self-confident 
and conceited. He began to be very proud of himself, and 
to take opi^ortunities to show his superiority over others, 
which developed with some rapidity the character existent 
somewhere in most persons : tlie prig. 

Blair Gary gave the first, if not the final, shock to this 


She was the daughter of Dr. Gary, Mr. Gray's cousin, 
who lived a few miles off across the river, at " Bird wood," 
perhaps the next most considerable place to Eed Rock in 
that section. She was a slim little girl with a rather pale 
face, large brown eyes, and hair that was always blowing 
into them. 

She would have given her eyes, no doubt, to have been 
accepted as companion by Jacquelin, who was several years 
her senior ; but as that young man was now aspiring to be 
comrade to Steve and to Blair's brother, Morris, he rele- 
gated Blair to the companionship of his small brother, 
Rupert, who was as much younger than Blair as she was 
younger than himself, and treated her with sovereign dis- 
dain. The first shock he received was when he found how 
much better Blair could read Latin than he could, and 
how much Steve thought of her on that account. After 
that, he actually condescended to play with her occasion- 
ally, and, sometimes, even to let her follow him about 
the plantation to admire his feats, whilst he tried to 
revenge himself on her for her superior scholastic attain- 
ments by showing her how much more a boy could do 
than a girl. It was all in vain. For, with this taunt for 
a spur, she would follow him even to the tops of trees, 
or the bottoms of ponds: so he determined to. show his 
superiority by one. final and supreme act. This was to 
climb to the roof of the "high barn,'' as it was called, 
and spring off into the top of a tree which spread its 
branches below. He had seen Steve do it, but had never 
ventured to try it himself. He had often climbed to the 
roof, and had fancied himself performing this feat to 
escape from pursuing Indians, but had never really con- 
templated doing it in fact, until Blair's persistent emula- 
tion, daunted by nothing that he attempted, spurred him 
to undertake it. So one day, after some boasting, he 
climbed to the peak of the roof. His heart beat so as he 
gazed down into the green mass far below him and saw the 
patches of brown earth through the leaves, that he wished 


he had not been so boastful ; but there was Blair behind 
him, astride of the roof, her eyes fastened on him with a 
somewhat defiant gaze. He thought how Steve would jeer 
if he knew he had turned back. So, with a call of derision 
to Blair to see what " a man could do," he set his teeth, 
shut his eyes, and took the Jumji, and landed safely below, 
among the boughs, his outstretched arms gathering them 
in as he sank amidst them, until they stopped his descent 
and he found a limb and climbed down, his heart bump- 
ing with excitement and pride. Blair, he felt sure, was 
at last ''stumped/' As he sprang to the ground and 
looked up he saw a sight which made his heart give a 
bigger bound than it had ever done in all his life. Tliere 
was little Blair on the very peak of the roof, the very 
point of the gable, getting ready to follow him. Her face 
was white, her lips were compressed, and her eyes were 
opened so wide that he could see them even from where 
he was. She was poised like a bird ready to fly. 

" Blair ! Blair ! " he cried, waving her back. " Don't ! 
don't ! " But Blair took no heed. She only settled her- , 
self for a firmer foothold, and the next second, with out- 
stretched arms, she sprang into space. Whether it was 
that his cry distracted her, or whether her hair blew into 
her eyes and made her miss her step, or whether she would 
have misjudged her distance anyhow, instead of reaching 
the thickly leaved part where Jacqueliu had landed, slie 
struck where the boughs were much less thick, and came 
crashing through : down, down, from bough to bough, 
until she landed on the lowest limb, where she stopped for 
a second, and then rolled over and fell in a limp little 
bundle on the ground, where she lay quite still. Jacquelin 
never forgot the feeling he had at that moment. He was 
sure she was dead, and that he was a murderer. In a sec- 
ond he was down on his knees, bending over her. 

"Blair, Blair," he cried. "Dear Blair, are you hurt?" 
But there was no answer. And he began to whimper in a 
very unmanly fashion for one who had been so boastful a 


moment before, and to pray, too, which is not so unmanly ; 
but his wits were about him, and it came to him quite 
clearly that, if she were not dead, the best thing to do was 
to unfasten her neck-band and bathe her face. So off to 
the nearest water he put as hard as his legs could take 
him, and dipped his handkerchief in the horse-trough, and 
then, grabbing up a bucket near by, filled it and ran back 
with it. Blair was still motionless and white, but he wiped 
her little, scratched face and bathed it again and again, 
and, presently, to his inexpressible joy, she sighed and half 
opened her eyes and sighed again, and then, as he was still 
asking her how she felt, said, faintly : 

'' I'm all right— I did it." 

In his joy Jacquelin actually kissed her. It seemed to 
him afterward to mark an epoch. 

The next quarter of an hour was passed in getting 
Blair's breath back. Fortunately for her, if not for her 
dress, her clothes had caught here and there as she came 
crashing through the branches, and though the breath 
was knocked out of her, and she was shaken and scratched 
and stunned, no bones were broken, and she was not 
seriously hurt after all. She proposed that they should 
say nothing about it to anyone : she could get his Mammy 
to mend her clothes. But this magnanimous offer Jacque- 
lin firmly declined. He was afraid that Blair might be 
hurt some way that she did not know, and he declared 
that he should go straight and tell it at the house. 

" But I did it myself," persisted little Blair ; " you were 
not to blame. You called to nie not to do it." 

" Did you hear me call ? Then why did you do it ? " 

" Because you had done it and said I could not." 

" But didn't you know you would get hurt ? " 

She nodded. 

" I thought so." 

Jacquelin looked at her long and seriously, and that 
moment a new idea seemed to him to enter his mind : 
that, after all, it might be as brave to do a dangerous 


thing which you are afraid to do, as if you are not at all 

" Blair, you are a brick," he said ; " you are braver than 
any boy I know — as brave as Steve. As brave as Marshal 
Turenne." AVhich was sweet enough to Blair to make 
amends for all her bruises and scratches. 

From that time Jacquelin made up his mind that he 
would never try to stump her again, but would guard her, 
and this sweetened to him the bitterness of having to confess 
when he got to the house. He did it like a man, going to his 
father, of whom, at heart, he was mightily afraid, and tell- 
ing him the whole story alone without the least reference 
to Blair's part in it, taking the entire blame on himself ; 
and it was only after he had received the jjunishment which 
was deemed due him that Blair's joint responsibility was 
known from her own lips. 

This escapade, however, proved a little too much for 
the elders, and Jacquelin was sent off to school, to the 
Academy at Brutusville, under the learned Doctor Maule, 
where, still emulating Steve, who was the leader in most 
of the mischief that went on at that famous institution of 
learning, he made more reputation by the way he con- 
structed a trap to catch one of the masters, Mr. Elij)halet 
Bush, than in construing the ancient language which was 
that gentleman's particular department. 



Everyone knows what a seething ferment there was 
for some time before the great explosion in the beginning 
of the Sixties — that strange decade that changed the civ- 
ilization of the country. Eed Eock, like the rest of the 
land, was turned from a haunt of peace into a forum. 
Politics were rampant ; every meeting was a lyceum ; boys 
became orators ; young girls wore partisan badges ; chil- 
dren used party-catchwords, which they did not under- 
stand — except one thing : that they represented " their 
side." There existed an irreconcilable difference between 
the two sections of the country. It could not be crushed. 
Hydra-headed, it a^jpeared after every extirpation. 

One side held slavery right under the double title of the 
Bible and of the Constitution. The leader of the other side 
said, ''If it was not wrong, then nothing was wrong " ; but 
declared that he would not interfere with it. 

"Bosh !" said Major Legale. "That is not a man to 
condone what he thinks wrong. If he is elected, it means 
the end of slavery." And so said many others. Most of 
them, rather than yield, were for War. To them War was 
only an episode : a pageant : a threshold to glory. Dr. 
Cary, who was a Whig, was opposed to it ; he had seen it, 
and he took the stump in opposition to Major Legale. 

" We could whip them with pop-guns," said the fire- 
eaters. Fordyce Lambly and Hurlbut Bail were two of 

"But will they fight with that weapon?" asked Dr. 



Gary, scornfully. He never liked Lambly and Bail ; he 
said they had no convictions. ''A man with convictions 
may be wrong ; but you know where to meet him, sir. 
You never know where to find these men." 

"Do you know what War is V he said in a speech, in 
reply to a secession-speech by Major Legale. " War is the 
most terrible of all disasters, except Dishonor. 1 do not 
speak of the dangers. For every brave man must face 
danger as it comes, and should court glory ; and death 
for one's Country is glorious. I speak merely of the 
change that War inevitably brings. War is the destruc- 
tion of everything that exists. You may fail or you may 
win, but what exists passes, and something different takes 
its place. The plough-share becomes a spear, and the 
pruniug-hook a sword ; the poor may become richer, bii t 
the rich must become poorer. You are the wealthiest jieo- 
ple in the world to-day — not in mere riches, but in Avealth. 
You may become the poorest. No people who enter a war 
wealthy and content ever come out of war so. I do not 
say that this is an unanswerable reason for not going to 
war. For war may be right at any cost. But it is not to be 
entered on unadvisedly or lightly ; but in the fear of God. 
It should not be undertaken from mere enthusiasm ; but 
deliberately, with a full recognition of its cost, and reso- 
lution to support its possible and direst consequences." 

When he had ended, Mr. Hurlbut Bail, a speaker from 
the city, who had come to the county to stir up the peo- 
ple, said : 

" Oh ! Dr. Gary is nothing but a Cassandra." 

"Did Troy fall or not ?" asked Dr. Gary, calmly. 

This, of course, changed no one. In times of high feel- 
ing debate only fuses opinions into convictions; only 
fans the flames and makes the fire a conflagration. 

When the war came the old Doctor flung in his lot witli 
his friends, and his gravity, that liad gro^vn on him of late, 
was lighted up by the old fire ; he took his place and per- 
formed his part with kindling eyes and an erecter mien. 


Hurlbut Bail became au editor. Tliis, however, was later 

The constantly increasing public ferment and the ever- 
enlarging and deepening cloud did not prevent the ordi- 
nary course of life from flowing in its accustomed chan- 
nels : men planned and performed ; sowed and reaped ; 
bought and sold, as in ordinary times. And as in the 
period before that other flood, there was marrying and 
giving in marriage ; so now, with the cloud ever mount- 
ing up the sky, men loved and married, and made their 
homes as the birds paired and built their nests. 

Among those who builded in that period in the Red 
Rock district were a young couple, both of them cousins 
in some degree of nearly every gentle family in the county, 
including the Grays and Carys. And after the blessing by 
old Mr. Langstaff, at St. Ann's, amid the roses and smiles 
of the whole neighborhood, they spent their honeymoon, 
as the custom was then, in being entertained from house 
to house, through the neighborhood. In this round of 
gayety they came in due order to Red Rock, where the en- 
tertainment was perhaps to be the greatest of all. The 
amount of preparation was almost unprecedented, and the 
gentry of the whole county were invited and expected. 
As it was a notable occasion and near the holidays, Jacque- 
lin was permitted to come home from Dr. Maule's on the 
joint application of his mother, his Aunt Thomasia, and 
Blair Gary ; and Blair was allowed to come over with her 
mother and father and spend the night, and was promised 
to be allowed to sit up as late as she pleased — a privilege 
not to be lightly esteemed. 

Steve Allen, with a faint mustache curled above his 
smiling mouth, was home from the University, and so 
were Morris Gary and the other young fellows ; and the 
office in the yard, blue with tobacco-smoke, was as full of 
young men and pipes and dogs, as the upstairs chambers in 
the mansion were of young girls and ribbons and muslin. 

What a heaven that outer office was to Jacqueliu, and 


what an angel Steve was to call him " Kid " and let him 
adore him ! 

Among the company that night there were two guests 
who ''happened in " quite unexpectedly, but who were 
"all the more welcome on that account," the host said 
graciously in greeting them. They were two gentlemen 
from quite another part of the country, or, perhaps, those 
resident there would have said, of the world ; as they came 
from the North. They had come South on business con- 
nected with a sort of traditionary claim to mineral lands 
lying somewhere in the range of mountains which could 
be seen from the Red Rock plantation. At least. Mi-. 
AYelch, the elder of the two, came on that errand. The 
younger, Mr. Lawrence Middleton, came simply for pleas- 
ure, and because Mr. Welch, his cousin, had invited him. 
He had just spoiled his career at college by engaging, with 
his chum and crony, Aurelius Thurston, in the awful crime 
of painting the President's gray horse a brilliant red, and 
being caught at it. He was susjiended for this prank, and 
now was spending his time, literally rusticating, seeing a 
little of the world, while he made up his mind whether he 
should study Law and accept his cousin's offer to go into 
his office, or whether he should engage in a manufacturing 
business which his family owned. His preference was 
rather for the latter, which was now being managed by a 
man named Bolter, who had made it very successful ; but 
Reely Thurston intended to be a lawyer, and wanted Law- 
rence to go in with him ; so he was taking time to consider. 
This visit South had inclined him to the law. 

Mr. Welch and Middleton had concluded their business 
in the mountains : finding the lands they were seeking to 
lie partly in the clouds and j)artly in the possession of 
those whom they had always heard spoken of as " squat- 
ters ; " but now found to be a population who had been 
there since before the Revolution, and had built villages 
and towns. They were now returning home and were 
jiiaking tlieir way back toward the railroad;, hull a day'tj 



Journey farther ou. They had expected to reach Brutns- 
ville, the county seat, that night ; but a rain the day 
before had washed away the bridges, and compelled them 
to take a circuitous route by a ford higher up the river. 
There, not knowing the ford, they had almost been swept 
away, and would certainly have lost their vehicle but for 
the timely appearance of a young countryman, who hap- 
pened to come along on his way home from a political 
gathering somewhere. 

Their deliverer : a certain Mr. Andy Stamper, was so 
small that at a distance he looked like a boy, but on nearer 
view he might have been anywhere from twenty or twenty- 
five to thirty, and he proved extraordinarily active and 
efficient. He swam in and heljDcd Middleton get their 
buggy out of the river, and then amused Mr, Welch very 
much and incensed Middleton by his comments. He had 
just been to a political meeting at the Court House, he 
said, where he had heard " the finest speech that ever was 
made," from Major Legale. " He gave the Yankees sut,'* 
and he " just wished he could get every Yankee in that 
river and drown 'em — every dog-goned one ! " This as he 
was working up to his neck in water. 

Mr. Welch could not help laughing at the look on Mid- 
dleton's ruddy face. 

''Now, where'd you find a Yankee'd go in that river 
like me an' you — or could do it, for that matter?" the 
little fellow asked of Middleton, confidentially. 

" We are Yankees," blurted out Middleton, hotly. 
"And a plenty of tliem would." His eye flashed as he 
turned to his rescuer. 

The little countryman's eyes opened wide, and his jaw 

" Well, I'm durned ! " he said, slowly, staring in open 
astonishment, and Middleton began to look gratified at 
the impression he had made. 

" You know, you're the first I ever seen as wan't 
ashamed to own it. Why, you looks most like we all !" 


Middleton flushed ; but little Stamper looked so sin- 
cerely ingenuous that he suddenly burst out laughing. 

After that they became very friendly, and the travellers 
learned much of the glories of the Grays and Carys, and 
of the charms of a certain Miss Delia Dove, who, Stamper 
declared, was as pretty as any young lady that went to the 
Brick Church. Stamper offered to guide them, but as he 
refused to take any money for what he had done, and as 
he said he was going to see Miss Delia Dove and could 
take a nearer cut through the woods to his home, Mr. 
Welch declined to accept his offer, and contented himself 
with getting him to draw a map of the roads from that 
point to the county seat. 

"All you've got to do is to follow that map: keep the 
main plain road and you can't get out ; but I advise you 
to turn in at the first plantation you come to. If you go 
to Eed Eock you'll have a good time. They're givin' a 
party thar to-night. Major Legaie, he left the meetin' 
to go thar." 

He disappeared at a gallop down a bridle-path through 
the woods. 

Notwithstanding the young countryman's assurances 
and maj), the two strangers had gotten " out." The 
plantations were large in that section and the roads lead- 
ing off to them from the highway, in the dark were all 
alike, so that when night fell the two travellers were in 
a serious dilemma. They at length came to a gate and 
were just considering turning in at it when a carriage 
drove ujd in front of them. A horseman wlio had been 
riding behind the vehicle came forward at a trot, calling 
out that he would open the gate. 

''I thought you fellows would have been there hours 
ago," he said familiarly to the two strangers as he j^assed, 
evidently mistaking them in the dusk for some of- his 
friends. " A laggard in love is a dastard in war." 

The rest of his speech was lost in the click of the gate- 
latch and his apostrophe to his horse. When he found 


that Mr. Welch was a stranger, he changed instantly. His 
tone became graver and more gracious. 

" I beg your jiardon, sir. I thought from your vehicle 
that you were some of these effeminate youngsters who 
have given ujd the saddle for that new four-wheeled con- 
trivance, and are ruining both our strains of horses and of 

Mr. Welch asked if he knew where they could find a 
niglit's lodging. 

"Why, at every house in the State, sir, I hope," said 
Dr. Gary ; for it was he. " Certainly, at the nearest one. 
Drive right in. We are going to our cousins', and they 
will be delighted to have you. You are just in good time ; 
for there is to be quite a company there to-night." And 
refusing to listen for a moment to Mr. Welch's suggestion 
that it might not be convenient to have strangers. Dr. Gary 
held the gate open for them to pass through. 

" Drive in, sir," he said, in a tone of gracious command. 
" I never heard of its being inconvenient to have a guest," 
and in they drove. 

" A gentleman by his voice," the travellers heard him 
explaining a little later into the window of the carriage 
behind them. And then he added, "My only doubt was 
his vehicle." 

After a half-mile drive through the woods they entered 
the open fields, and from a hill afar off, on tojD of which, 
shone a house lit till it gleamed like a cluster of brill- 
iants, a chorus of dogs sent them an inquiring greeting. 

They passed through a wide gate, and ascended a steep 
hill through a grove, and Middleton's heart sank at the 
idea of facing an invited company, with a wardrobe that 
had been under water within the last two hours. Instant- 
ly they were in a group of welcomers, gentlemen, ser- 
vants, and dogs ; negro boys running ; dogs frisking and 
yelping and young men laughing about the door oi the 
newly arrived carriage. While through it all sounded the 
placid voice of Dr. Gary reassuring the visitors and in- 


viting them in. He brought the host to them, and pre- 
sented them : 

"My friends, Mr. Welch and young Mr. Middle ton — 
my cousin and friend, Mr. Gray." It was his customary 
formula in introducing. All men were his friends. And 
Mr. Welch shortly observed how his manner changed when- 
ever he addressed a lady or a stranger : to one he was al- 
ways a courtier, to the other always a host. 

As they were ushered into the hall, Middleton's blue 
eyes glistened and opened wide at the scene before him. 
He found himself facing several score of people clustered 
about in one of the handsomest halls he ever saw, some of 
whom he took in at the first glance to be remarkably 
pretty girls in white and pink, and all Avith their eyes, 
filled with curiosity, bent on the new comers. If Middle- 
ton's ruddiness increased tenfold under these glances, it 
was only what any other young man's would have done 
under similar circumstances, and it was not until he had 
been led off under convoy of a tall and very solemn old 
servant in a blue coat with brass buttons, and shown into 
a large room with mahogany furniture and a bed so high 
that it had a set of steps beside it, that he Avas able to col- 
lect his ideas, and recall some of those to whom he had 
been introduced. What a terrible fix it Avas for a fellow 
to be in ! He opened his portmanteau and turned to his 
cousin in despair. 

'' Isn't this a mess ? " 


" This ! I can never go out there. All those girls ! 
Just look at these clothes ! Everything dripping ! — some 
of them aAvfully pretty, too. That one with the dark 
eyes ! " He was down on his knees, raking in his jiort- 
manteau, and dragging the soaking garments out one by 
one. " NoAv, look at that." 

" You need not go out. I'll make your excuses." 

"What ! Of course I'm go " 

Just then there Avas a knock at the door. 


" Come in." Middleton finished his sentence. 

The door opened slowly and the old servant entered, 
bearing with a solemnity that amounted almost to rever- 
ence, a waiter with decanters and an array of glasses and 
bowls. He was followed by the young boy who had been 
introduced as their host's son. 

" My father understood that you had a little accident at 
the river, and he wishes to know if he cannot lend you 
something/' said Jacquelin. 

Mr. Welch spoke first, his eyes twinkling as he glanced 
at his cousin, who stood a picture of indecision and bewil- 

" Why yes, my cousin, Mr. Middleton here, Avould be 
greatly obliged, I think. He is a little particular about first 
impressions, and the presence of so many charming " 

Middleton protested. 

**Wliy, certainly, sir," Jacquelin began, then turned to 
Middleton — " Steve's would fit you — Steve's my cousin — 
he's at the University — he's just six feet. Wait, sir — —" 
And before they could stop him, he was gone, and a few 
minutes later tapped on the door, with his arms full of 

" Uncle Daniel's as slow as a steer, sp I fetched 'em my- 
self," he panted, with boyish impatience, as he dropjDed 
the clothes partly on a sofa and partly on the floor. 
" Aunt Thomasia was afraid you'd catch cold, so she made 
me bring these flannels. She always is afraid you'll catch 
cold. Steve told her if you'd take a good swig out of a 
bottle 'twould be worth all the flannel in the State — 
Steve's always teasing her." AVith a boy's friendliness he 
had established himself now as the visitors' ally. 

" I'm glad you came to-night. We're going to have 
lots of fun. Were you at the speaking to-day ? They say 
the Major made the finest speech ever was heard. Some 
say he's better than Calhoun ever was ; just gave the Yan- 
kees the mischief ! I wish they'd come down here and try 
us once, don't you ?" 


Mr. Welch glanced amusedly at Middleton, whose face 
changed ; bnt fortunately the boy was too much inter- 
ested in the suit Middleton had just put on to notice the 

" I thought Steve's would fit you/' he said, with that 
proud satisfaction in his judgment being verified which 
characterizes the age of thirteen, and some other ages as 

"Steve's nineteen, and he^'asix feet ! — You are six feet 
too ? I thought you were about that. I hope I'll be six 
feet. I like that height, don't you ? Steve's at the Uni- 
versity, but he don't study much, I reckon. Are you at 
college ? — Where ? Oh ! I know. I had a cousin who 
went there. He and two or three other Southern fellows 
laid outside of the hall for one of those abolition chaps 
who was making a speech, to cut his ears off when he came 
out, and they'd have done it if he had come out that way. 
I reckon it's a good college, but I'm going to the Univer- 
sity when I'm sixteen. I'm thirteen now — You thought I 
was older ? I wanted to go to West Point, but my father 
won't let me. Maybe, Rupert will go there. I go to 
school at the Academy — Doctor Maule's — everybody knows 
about him. I tell you, he knows a lot. — You have left col- 
lege ? Was it too hot for you ? Were you after some- 
body's ears too ? What ! painted the President's horse 
red ! Oh ! wasn't that a good one ! I wish I'd been there. 
I'll tell Steve and Blair about that. Steve put a cow up 
in the Rotunda once. The worst thing I ever did was 
making Blair jump off the high barn. I don't count 
flinging old Eliphalet Bush in the creek, because I believe 
his teeth were false anyhow ! But I'll remember painting 
that horse. I reckon he was an abolitionist too ? " 

So the boy rattled on, his guests drawing him out for the 
pleasure of seeing him. 

"■ Wliat State are you from ? Maybe, we are cousins ? " 
he said presently, giving the best evidence of his friendli- 


" What ! Mass — a — ! I beg j^our pardon/* 

He looked so confused that both Mr. Welch and Middle- 
ton took some pains to sooth him. 

"Yes, of course I was not talking about you; but I 
wouldn't have said anything about Massachusetts if I had 
known you came from there. I wouldn't like anybody to 
say anything about 7ny State. You won't mind what I 
said, will you ? I think Massachusetts the best of the 

Northern States — anyhow " And he left them, his 

cheeks still glowing from embarrassment. 

This apology, sincerely given, with a certain stress on the 
word Northern, amused Mr. Welch, and even Middleton, to 
whom it presented, however, an entirely new view. 

"Aren't they funny?" asked Middleton of his cousin, 
after their young host had left them. " You know I be- 
lieve they really think it." 

"Larry, you have understated it. They think they 
know it." 

Jacquelin employed the few moments, in which he pre- 
ceded the visitors to the hall, in telling all he had learned, 
and when Mr. Welch and Middleton appeared they found 
themselves in the position of the most distinguished guests. 
The fact that they came from the North, and Jacquelin's 
account of his mistake, had increased the desire to show 
them honor. " The hospitality of the South knows no lati- 
tude," said Dr. Gary, in concluding a gracious half apology 
to Mr. Welch for Jacquelin's error ; and he proceeded deftly 
to name over a list of great men from Massachusetts, and to 
link their names with those of the men of the South whom 
she most delighted to honor. His dearest friend at col- 
lege, he said, was from New England, and unless he was 
mistaken, Anson Rockfield would one day be heard of. 
Nothing could have been more gracious or more delicately 
done ; and when supj)er was announced, Mr. Welch was 
taken to the table by the hostess herself, and his health 
was drunk before the groom's. Middleton meanwhile 
found himself no less honored. The artistic feat performed 

22 RilD ROCK 

on the President's horse had made him a noted personage, 
and in consequence of this and of the freemasonry which 
exists among young college-men, he was soon surrounded 
by all the younger portion of the company, and was ex- 
changing views with Steve Allen and the other young 
fellows with that exaggerated man-of-the-world air which 
characterizes the age and occupation of collegians. 

" Where is Blair ?" he asked Jacquelin, presently, who 
was standing by Steve, open-eyed, drinking in their wis- 
dom as only a boy of thirteen can drink in the sapience of 
men of nineteen or twenty. 

"Over there." Jacquelin nodded toward another part 
of the hall. Middleton looked, but all he saw was a little 
girl sitting behind a big chair, evidently trying to conceal 
herself, and shaking her head violently at Jacquelin, who 
was beckoning to her. Jacquelin ran over to her and 
caught her by the hand, whereupon there was a little 
scuffle between them behind the chair, and as Middleton 
watched it he caught her eye. The next second she 
rose, smoothed her little white frock with quite an air, 
and came straight across with Jacquelin to where they 
stood. "This is Blair, Mr. Middleton," the boy said 
to the astonished guest. And Miss Blair held out her 
hand to him with an odd mixture of the child and the 

" How do you do, sir ?" She evidently considered him 
one of the ancients. 

" She jump off a high barn ! " Middleton's eyes opened 

"Blair is the champion Jumper of the family," said 
Steve, tall and condescending, catching hold of her half- 
teasingly, and drawing her up close to him. 

" And she is a brick," added Master Jacquelin, with 
mingled condescension and admiration, which brought the 
blushes back to the little girl's cheeks and made her look 
very charming. The next moment she was talking to 
Middleton about the episode of the painted horse ; ex- 


changing adventures with him, and asking him questions 
about his chum, Reely Thurston and his cousin, Ruth 
Welch, whom he had mentioned, as if she had known him 

It was a night that Middleton never forgot. So com- 
pletely was he adopted by his hosts that he could scarcely 
believe that he had not been one of them all his life. As 
Mr. Welch said truly : they had the gift of hospitality. 
Jacquelin and Blair constituted themselves young Middle- 
ton's especial hosts, and he made an engagement to visit 
with them all the points which they wished to show him, 
provided his cousin could accept their invitation to spend 
several days there. 

In the midst of their talk an old mammy in a white 
apron, with a tall bandanna turban around her head, 
suddenly appeared in a doorway, and dropping a curtsey 
made her way over to Blair, like a ship bearing down un- 
der full sail. There was a colloquy between the two, in- 
audible, but none the less animated and interesting, the 
old woman urging something and the little girl arguing 
against it. Then Blair went across and appealed to her 
mother, who, after a little demurring, came over and spoke 
to the mammy, and thereon began further argument. 
She was evidently taking Blair's side ; but she was not 
commanding, she was rather pleading. Middleton, new to 
the customs, was equally surprised and amused to hear the 
tones of the old colored woman's voice : 

" AVell, jist a little while." Then as she turned on her 
way out, she said, half audibly : 

" You all gwine ruin my chile' looks, meckin' her set 
up so late. How she gwine have any complexion, settin' 
up all times o' night ? " As she passed out, however, many 
of the ladies spoke to her, and they must have said pleas- 
ant things ; for before she reached the door she was 
smiling and curtseying right and left, and carried her 
head as high as a princess. As for Blair, her eyes were 
dancing with joy at her victory, and when the plump 


figure of the mammy disappeared she gave a little frisk of 

There were no more speeches that conld wound the sen- 
sibilities of the guests ; but there was plenty of discus- 
sion. All the young men were ardent politicians, and 
Middleton, who was nothing himself, was jDartly amused 
and partly horrified at the violence of some of their senti- 
ments. Personally, he agreed with them in the main 
about Slavery or, at least, about Abolitionism. He 
thought Slavery rather a fine thing, and recalled that his 
grandfather or his great-grandfather, he couldn't be cer- 
tain which, had owned a number of slaves. He was con- 
scious of some pride in this — though his cousin, Patience 
Welch, who was an extreme abolitionist, was always be- 
moaning the fact. 

But he was thunderstruck to hear a young orator of six- 
teen or seventeen declaim about breaking up the Union, 
under certain circumstances, as if it were a worthless old 
hulk, stuck in the mud. It had neVer occurred to Mid- 
dleton that it was possible, and he had always understood 
that it was not. However, he was reassured by the warmth 
with which otliers defended the Union, and the ardor with 
which toasts were drunk to it. Jacquelin himself was a 
stanch Democrat, like his father. He confided to Mid- 
dleton that Blair was a Whig, because her father was one ; 
but that a girl did not knoAV any better, and that she 
really did not know the dilference between them. 

The entertainment consisted of dancing — quadrilles and 
*'tlie Lancers," and after awhile, the old Virginia reel. 
In the first, all the young people joined, and in the last, 
some of the old ones as well. Middleton heard Steve 
urging their host's sister. Miss Gray — '' Cousin Thomasia" 
as Steve called her — a sweet patrician-faced lady, to come 
and dance with him, and when she smilingly refused, teas- 
ing her about Major Legaie. She gave him a little tap 
with her fan and sent him off with smiling eyes, which, 
after following the handsome boy across the hall, sad- 


dened a second later as she lifted the fau close to her face 
to arrange the feathers. Steve mischievously whisked 
Blair off from under Jacquelin's nose and took her to the 
far end of the line of laughing girls ranged across the 
hall, responding to Jacquelin's earnest protest that he was 
just going to dance with her himself, with a push — that 
unanswerable logic of a bigger boy. 

" But you did not ask me ! " said Miss Blair to Jacque- 
lin, readily taking the stronger side against her sworn 

*' Never mind, I'm not going to dance with you any 
more," pouted Jacquelin as he turned off, his head higher 
than usual, to which Miss Blair promptly replied : " I 
don't care if you don't." And she held her head higher 
than his, dancing through her reel apparently with double 
enjoyment because of his discomfiture. Then when the 
reel had been danced again and again, with double couples 
and fours, to ever-quickening music and ever-increasing 
mirth, until it was a maze of muslin and radiance and 
laughter, there was a pause for rest. And someone near 
the piano struck up a song, and this drew the crowd. 
Many of the girls, and some of the young men, had pleas- 
ant voices, which made up by their natural sweetness and 
simplicity for want of training, and the choruses drew 
all the young people, except a few who seemed to find 
it necessary to seek something — fans or glasses of water, 
in the most secluded and unlikely corners, and always in 

There was one song — a new one which had just been 
picked up somewhere by someone and brought there, and 
they were all trying to recall it — about " Dixie-land." It 
seemed that Blair sang it, and there was a universal re- 
quest for her to sing it ; but the little girl was shy and 
wanted to run away. Finally, however, she was brought 
back and, under coaxing from Steve and Jacquelin, was 
persuaded ; and she stood up by the piano and with her 
cheeks glowing and her child's-voice quavering at first at 


the prominence given her, sang it through. Middleton 
had heard the song once at a minstrel-shov/ not long be- 
fore, and had thought it rather a '' catchy " thing ; but 
now, when the child sang it, he found its melody. But 
when the chorus came, he was astonished at the feeling it 
evoked. It ran : 

" Away down south in Dixie, away, away — 
In Dixie land, I'll take \wj stand, 
To live and die for Dixie land — 
Away, away, away down south in Dixie." 

It was a burst of genuine feeling, universal, enthusiastic, 
that made the oid walls resound. Even the young couples 
came from their secluded coverts to join in. It was so 
tremendous that Dr. Gary, who was standing near Mr. 
Welch, said to him, gravely : 

" A gleam of the current that is dammed up ? " 

" If the bank ever breaks what will happen ? " asked 
Mr. Welch. 

"A flood.'' 

" Then the right will survive." 

'' The strongest," said Dr. Gary. 

The guest saw that there was deep feeling whenever any 
political subject was touched on, and he turned to a less 
dangerous theme. The walls of the hall and drawing-room 
were covered with pictures ; scenes from the Mythology ; 
battle-]3ieces ; old portraits : all hung together in a sort of 
friendly confusion. The portraits were nearly all in rich- 
colored dresses: men in velvets or uniforms, ladies in satins 
and crinolines, representing the fashions and faces of 
many generations of Jacquelin-Grays. But one, the 
most striking iigure of them all, stood alone to itself in a 
space just over the great fireplace. He was a man still 
young, clad in a hunter's garb. A dark rock loomed be- 
hind him. His rifle lay at his feet, apparently broken, 
and his face wore an expression of such determination that 
one knew at once that, whatever he had been, he had been 


a master. The other paintings were portraits ; this was 
the man. To add to its distinction, while the other pict- 
ures were in frames richly gilded and carved, this was in 
straight hlack boards apparently built into the wall, as if 
it had been meant to stand him there and cut him off from 
all the rest of the world. Wherever one turned in the 
hall those piercing eyes followed him. Mr. Welch had 
been for some time observing the picture. 

"An extraordinary picture. It has a singular fascina- 
tion for me," he said, as his host turned to him. " One 
might almost fancy it allegorical, and yet, it is intensely 
human. An indubitable portrait ? I never saw a stronger 

His host smiled. 

"Yes. It has a somewhat curious history, though 
whether it is exactly a portrait or not we do not know. It 
is, or is supposed to be, the portrait of an ancestor of mine, 
the first of my name who came to this country. He had 
been unfortunate on the other side — so the story goes — was 
a scholar, and had been a soldier under Cromwell and lost 
all his property. He fell in love with a young lady whose 
father was on the King^s side, and married her against 
her parents^ wishes and came over here. He built a house 
on this very spot when it was the frontier, and his wife 
was afterward murdered by the Indians, leaving him one 
child. It is said that he killed the Indian with his naked 
hands just beside a great rock that stands in the grave- 
yard beyond the garden, a short distance from the house. 
He afterward had that picture painted and placed there. 
It is reported to be a Lely. It has always been recognized 
as a fine picture, and in all the successive changes it has 
been left there. This present house was built around the 
fireplace of the old one. In this way a story has grown up 
about the picture, that it is connected with the fortunes 
of the house. You know how superstitious the negroes 

" I am not surprised," said Mr. Welch, examining the 


picture more closely. '' I never saw a lonelier man. That 
black frame shutting it in seems to have something to do 
with the effect.'^ 

" The tradition has possibly had a good effect. There 
used to be a recess behind it that was used as a cupboard, 
perhaps a secret cabinet, because of this very superstition. 
The picture fell down once a few years ago and I found a 
number of old papers in there, and jiut some more in my- 

" Here, you can see the paint on the frame, where it 
tell. It was in the early summer, and one of the servants 
was just painting the hearth red, and a sudden gust of 
wind slammed a door and jarred the picture down, and it 
fell, getting that paint on it. You never saw anyone so 
frightened as that boy was. And I think my overseer was 
also," he laughed. "He happened to be present, settling 
up some matters with Avhich I had entrusted him in the 
South, and although he is a remarkably sensible man — so 
sensible that I had given him my bonds for a very consid- 
erable amount — one for a very large amount, indeed, in 
case he should need them in the matter I refer to, and he 
had managed the affair with the greatest shrewdness, bring- 
ing my bond«. back — he was as much frightened almost as 
the boy. Yon'd have thought that the fall of the pict- 
ure portended my immediate death. I took advantage 
of the circumstance to put the papers in the cupboard, 
and, to ease his mind, made Still nail the picture up, 
so that it will never come down again, at least, in my life- 

" I had no idea the whites were so superstitious," said 
Major Welch. 

" Well, I do not suppose he really believed it. But, do 
you know, after that they began to say that stain on it was 
blood? And here again." 

He pointed to where three or four little foot-tracks, as 
of a child's bare foot, were dimly seen on the hard white 
floor near the hearth. 


'* My little boy, Eupert, was playing in the hall at the 
time I mention, dabbling his feet in the paint, and the 
same wind that blew down the picture scattered my 
papers, and he ran across the floor and finally stepped 
on one. There, you can see just where he caught it : 
the little heel is there, and the print of the toes is on 
the bond behind the picture. His mother would never 
allow the prints to be scoured out, and so they have re- 
mained. And now, I understand, they say the tracks are 

*' On such slim evidence, perhaps other and weightier 
superstitions have been built," said Mr. AVelch, smiling. 

Next morning, as Mr. Welch wished to see a Southern 
plantation, he deferred his departure until the afternoon, 
and rode over the place with Mr. Gray. Middleton was 
taken by his young hosts to see all the things of interest 
about the plantation: the high barn from which Blair 
had jumped into the tree, the bloody rock beside which 
the " Indian-Killer " had been buried, and the very spot 
where Steve had slepb that night ; together with many 
other points, whilst Mr. Welch was taken to see the ser- 
vants' quarters, the hands working and singing in the 
fields, and such things as interested him. The plan- 
tation surpassed any he had yet seen. It was a little world 
in itself — a sort of feudal domain : the great house on its 
lofty hill, surrounded by gardens ; the broad fields stretch- 
ing away in every direction, with waving grain or green 
pastures dotted with sheep- and cattle, and all shut in and 
bounded by the distant woods. 

During this tour Mr. Langstaff, the rector, made to 
Mr. AYelch an observation that he thought there were evi- 
dences that the Garden of Eden was situated not far from 
that spot, and certainly within the limits of the State. 
Major Welch smiled at the old clergyman's ingenuous- 
ness, but was graver when, as they strolled through the 
negro quarters, he began to speak earnestly of the bless- 
ings of Slavery. He pointed out the clean cabins, each 


finrrounded by its little yard and with its garden ; tlie 
iaugliing children and smiling mothers curtseying from 
their doors. The guest remained silent, and the old gen- 
Ueman took it for assent. 

" Why, sir, I have just prepared a paper which my 
friends think establishes incoutrovertibly that Slavery is 
based on the Scriptures, and is, as it were, a divine insti- 
tution." Mr. Welch looked up to see how the other gen- 
tlemen took this. They were all grave, except Pr. Gary, 
usually the gravest, around whose mouth a slight smile 
flickered, and in whose eyes, as they met Major Welch's, 
there was a little gleam of amusement. 

" It is written, ' A servant of servants shall he be.' You 
will not deny that ?" asked the old preacher, a little of 
the smouldering fire of the controversialist sparkling for 
a moment in his face. 

" Well, no, I don't think I will." 

"Then that settles it." 

"Well, perhaps not altogether," said Mr. Welch. 
" There may be an economical sin. But I do not wish to 
engage in a polemical controversy. I will only say that down 
here you do not seem to me to appreciate fully how strong 
the feeling of the world at present is against Slavery. It 
seems to me, that Slavery is doomed as much as the Stage- 
coach, and the Sailing vessel." 

" My dear sir," declared Mr. Gray, " I cannot agree 
with you. We interfere with nobody ; all we demand is 
that they shall not interfere with us." 

" It is precisely that which you cannot enforce," said 
Mr. Welch. " I do not wish to engage in a discussion in 
which neither of us could convince the other ; but I think 
I have not defined my ^oosition intelligibly. You interfere 
with everyone — with every nation — and you are only ten- 
ants at will of your system — only tenants by sufferance of 
the world." 

" Oh ! my dear sir ! " exclaimed his host, his face 
slightly flushed ; and then the subject was politely changed. 


and Mr. Welch was conscious that it was not to be ojiened 

The only additional observation made was by a gentle- 
man who had been introduced to Mr. Welch as the leading 
lawyer of the county, a portly man with a round face and 
keen eyes. " Well, as George IV. remarked, it will last my 
time," he said. 

Before the young people had seen half the interesting 
places of which Jacqueliu had told Middleton, they were 
recalled to the house. Jacquelin's face fell. 

"■ School ! " he said in disgust. 

As they returned on a road leading up to a farmhouse 
on a hill, they passed a somewhat rickety buggy containing 
a plain-looking young girl, a little older than Blair, driven 
by a thin-shouldered youngster of eighteen or nineteen, who 
returned Jacquelin's and Blair's greeting, with a surly air. 
Middleton thought he checked the girl for her jjleasant 
bow. At any rate, he heard his voice in a cross tone, scold- 
ing her after they had passed. 

" That's Washy Still and Virgy, the overseer's children," 
exi)lained someone. 

^'And he's just as mean to her as he can be. She's 
afraid of him. I'll be bound I wouldn't be afraid of him ! " 
broke out Blair, her eyes growing suddenly sparkling at 
the idta of wrong to one of her sex. Middleton looked 
down at her glowing face and thought it unlikely. 

On arrival at the house it proved that Jacquelin's fears 
were well-founded. It had been decided that he must go 
back to school. Jacquelin appealed to his Aunt Tho- 
masia to intercede for him, and she did so, as she always 
interceded for everyone, but it was in vain. It was an age 
of law, and the law had to be obeyed. 

As Middleton was passing from the room he occupied, to 
the hall, he came on Blair. She was seated in a window, 
almost behind the curtain and he would have passed by 
without seeing her but for a movement she made to 
sere )n herself entirely. Curiosity and mischief prompted 


the young man to go up and peep at lier. She had a 
book in her hand, which she held down as if to keep ont 
of sight, and as he looked at her he thought she had been 
crying. A glance at the book showed it was " Virgil," and 
Middleton sujiposed, from some personal exj^erience, that 
the tears were connected with the book. So he offered to 
construe her lesson for her. She let him do it, and he was 
Just congratulating himself that he Avas doing it toler- 
ably well when she corrected him. At the same moment 
Jacquelin came in. He too looked unusually downcast, 
and Blair turned away her face, and then suddenly sprang 
up and ran away. 

" What's the matter ?" asked Middleton. " Can't she 
read her lesson ? " 

" No : she can read that well enough. You just ought 
to hear her read Latin. I wish I could do it as well as 
she does, that's all ! I'd make old Eliphalet open his 
eyes. She's crying because I've got to go back to school 
— I wish I were grown up, I bet I wouldn't go to school 
any more ! I hate school, and I hate old Eliphalet, and 
I hate old Maule — no, I don't quite hate him ; but I hate 
school and I'm going to paint his horse blue, if he licks 
the life out of me." After which explosion the young- 
ster appeared relieved, and went off to prepare for the 

When he rode away with Doan behind him, his last call 
back was to Middleton, to be sure and remember his 
promise to come back again, and to bring Eeely Thurston 
with him. 



Both Larry Middleton and Mr. Welch were to visit 
Red Rock again ; but under circumstances little antici- 
pated by anyone at the time the invitation to return was 

When Middleton came of age he turned over the manu- 
facturing business he had inherited, to the family's agent, 
Mr. Bolter, and, on leaving college, accepted the invita- 
tion of his cousin, Mr. Welch, to go in his law-office. 
He made only one condition : that the same invitation 
should be extended to his college chum, Reely Thurston, 
whom Middleton described to Mr. Welch as "at once the 
roundest and squarest fellow " in his class. This was 
enough for Mr. Welch, and within a few months the two 
young men were at adjoining desks, professing to practise 
law and really practising whatever other young gentlemen 
of their age and kind are given to doing : a combination 
of loafing, working, and airing themselves for the benefit 
of the rest of mankind, particularly of that joortion that 
wears bonnets and petticoats. 

Both Mr. and Mrs. Welch were glad to have Middleton 
with them ; for Mrs. Welch was fond of him as a near re- 
lation, and one who in personal appearance and address 
was a worthy representative of the old stock from which 
they had both come. And she had this further reason 
for wishiug to have Middleton near her : that she had long 
observed his tendency to be affected unduly, as she termed 
3 33 


it, by his snrronndings, and slie meant to counteract this 
defect of character by her personal influence. 

It was enough for Mrs. Welch to see a defect of any 
kind to wish to correct it, and her wish was usually but 
a ste]^ in advance of her action. One might see this in the 
broad brow above which the hair was brushed so very 
smoothly ; in the deep gray eyes ; in the firm mouth with 
its fine, even teeth ; in the strong chin, almost too strong 
for a woman ; and especially, in the set of her head, and 
the absolute straightness of her back. She was at heart 
a missionary : one of those intrepid and unbending spirits 
who have carried their prineijjles through the world by 
the sheer energy of their belief. She would no more 
have bowed in the house of Rimmon than she would have 
committed theft. If she had lived in Rome, she would 
have died before taking a i)inch of incense for Diana, un- 
less, indeed, she had been on the other side, when she 
would have fed the lions with fervor. If she ha^l been in 
Spain on Torquemada's side, she could have sung Te 
Deums at an auto-da-fe. As someone said of her, she 
would have burned like a candle. The only difficulty 
was that she wanted others to burn too — which they were 
not always so ready to do. As a girl, she had been on 
the eve of going out as missionary to the Sandwich Isl- 
ands, when she heard the splendid oratory of one of the 
new apostles of abolitionism, one evening in company with 
Mr. AVelch, then a young engineer, when her philan- 
thropical direction changed from West to South, and she 
devoted herself thenceforth to the cause of the negroes — 
and of the young eiigineer. 

She had great hopes of Lawrence Middleton and de- 
plored the influence on him of the young man whom he 
had chosen at college as his especial friend ; and she grieved 
over tlie efi'ect that his visit South, already described, had 
on him. He had come home much impressed by the 
charm of the life there. Indeed, he had become actually 
an apologist for Slavery. But Mrs. Welch did not despair. 


She never despaired. It implied weakness, and so, sin. 
She was urgent to have Larry Middleton accept her hus- 
band's proposal to take a place in his office, and though 
she would have preferred to separate him from young 
Thurston, as to whom she had misgivings, yet when he 
made this condition she yielded ; for it brought Middleton 
where she could influence him, and had, at least, this ad- 
vantage : that it gave her two persons to work on instead 
of one. 

When her daughter, Euth Welch, a young Miss with 
sparkling eyes, came home in her vacations, it was natural 
that she should be thrown a great deal with her cousin, 
and the only singular thing was that Mrs. AVelch appeared 
inclined to minimize the importance of the relationship). 
This, however, made little difference to the gay, fun-lov- 
ing girl, who, enjoying her emancipation from school, 
tyrannized over the two young sprigs of the Law to her 
heart's content. She soon reduced Thurston to a condi- 
tion of abject slavery which might well have called forth 
the intervention of so ardent an emancipator as her 
mother, and did, indeed, excite some solicitude in her 
maternal bosom. Mrs. Welch was beginning to be very 
anxious about him when events, suddenly crowding on 
each other, gave her something widely different to think 
of, and unexpectedly relieved her from this cause of care 
to give her others far weightier. 

Both the young men had become politicians. Middle- 
ton was a Whig, though he admitted he did not see how 
Slavery could be interfered with ; while Thurston an- 
nounced tenets of the opposite j)arty, particularly when 
Mrs. Welch was present. 

The cloud which had been gathering so long above the 
Country suddenly burst. 

Middleton and Thurston were sitting in their office one 
afternoon when there was a scamper outside ; the door was 
flung open, and a paper thrown in — an extra still wet from 
the press. Thurston seized it, his seat being nearest the 


door, and gave a long whistle as his eye fell on the black 
headlines : 

The Flag Fired on: Open Rebellion. The 
Union Must Be Saved At Any Cost, Etc., etc. 

He sank into his seat and read rapidly the whole ac- 
count, ending with the call for troops to put down the Ke- 
bellion ; while Middleton listened witli a set face. When 
Thurston was through, he flung the paper down and sat 
back in his chair, thinking intently. The next moment 
he hammered his fist on his desk and sprang to his feet, 
his face white with resolve. 

'' By God ! I'll go." 

With a single inquiring look at Middleton, he turned 
to the door and walked out. A inoment later Middleton 
locked his desk and followed him. The street was al- 
ready filling with peo2)le, crowding to hear the details, and 
the buzz of voices was growing louder. 

Within a few hours the two young men were both en- 
rolled in a company of volunteers which was being gotten 
up — Middleton, in right of his stature and family connec- 
tions, as a Sergeant, and little Thurston as a Corporal, and 
were at work getting others enrolled. 

As they were so engaged, Thurston's attention was ar- 
rested by a man in the crowd who was especially violent 
in his denunciations, and was urging everybody to enlist. 
His voice had a peculiar, penetrating whine. As Thurston 
could not remember the man among those who had signed 
the roll, he asked him his name. 

" Leech, Jonadab Leech," he said. 

When Thurston looked at the roster, the name was not 
on it, and the next time Leech came up in the crow(t, the 
little Corporal called liiui : 

"Here ; you have forgotten to put your name down." 

To his surprise, Leecli drew back and actually turned 


*' What's the matter ? " asked Thurston. 

" I have a wife." 

The little volunteer gave a sniff. 

" All right — send her in your place. I guess she'd do 
as well." 

" If he has, he's trying to get rid of her," said someone 
standing by, in an undertone. 

" Why — ah ! — my eyes are bad ; I'm too near-sighted." 

" Your eyes be hanged ! You can see well enough to 
read this pajjer." 

'' I — ah ! — I cannot see in the dark at all," stammered 
Leech as a number of the new volunteers crowded around 

" Neither can I — neither can anybody but a cat," de- 
clared the little Corporal, and the crowd around cheered 
liitn. Leech vanished. 

"Who is he?" asked Thurston, as Leech disap- 

"He is a clerk in old Bolter's commissary/* 

The crowd was j^atriotic. 

There was great excitement in the town all night : bells 
rang ; crowds marched up and down the streets singing ; 
stopping at the houses of those who had been opposed to 
ultra measures, and calling on them to put up flags to show 
their loyalty. The name of Jonadab Leech appeared in tlie 
papers next morning as one of the street-orators who made 
the most blood-thirsty speech. 

Next day was Sunday. Sober second thought had suc- 
ceeded the excitement of the previous day, the faces of the 
peo2:)le showed it. The churches were overflowing. The 
preachers all alluded to the crisis that had come, and 
the tears of the congregations testified how deeply they 
were moved. After church, by a common impulse, every- 
one went to the public square to learn the news. The 
square was packed. Suddenly on the pole that stood above 
the old court-house, someone ran up the flag. At the 
instant that it broke forth the breeze caught it, and 


it fluttered out full and straight, 2">ointing to the south- 
ward. The effect was electric. A great cheer burst from 
the crowd below. As it died down, a young man's 
clear voice struck up ''My Country, 'Tis of Thee," and 
the next moment the whole crowd was singing and weejo- 

That flag and that song made more soldiers from the old 
town than all the newspajDers and all the speeches, and 
Larry Middleton, for having struck np the song, found him- 
self suddenly of more note in his own home than he could 
have been later if he had stormed a battery. 

Loudest among the shouters was the street-orator of the 
evening before, Jonadab Leech, the clerk in Bolter's com- 

Within a week the two young men were on their way 

A little later, Mr. Welch, having taken time to settle 
np his affairs, and also those of his cousin, Larry Middle- 
ton, went off to join the first corps of engineers from his 
State, with abundance of tears from Ruth and a blessing 
from his wife, whose mouth was never firmer, or her eye 
clearer, than when she kissed him, and bade him God- 

She replied to the astonished query of Mrs. Bolter, 
" Yon did not cry ? " with another question : 

" Why should I cry, when I knew it was his duty ? If 
I had wept it Avould have been because I could not go my- 
self to strike a blow for the fi-eedom of the poor Afri- 
can !" 

" You are an unusually strong woman," said Mrs. Bol- 
ter, with a shake of her head, and, indeed, Mrs. Welch 
looked it ; for though Bolter had gone to AVashington, he 
had not gone to war, but to see about contracts. 

Just at the time that the two young students from 
Mr. Welch's oflice were in the street of their town en- 
rolling their names as soldiers to fight for the flag of 


the Uniou, the young men, and the elders as well, whom 
Middleton had met at Eed Rock a thousand miles to the 
southward, were engaged in similar work — enlisting to 
fight against Invasion, to fight for their State. 

There had been much discussion — much dissension in 
the old county, and all others like it, during the interim 
since the night when Middleton and Mr. Welch had ap- 
peared unexpectedly at Eed Eock among the wedding 
guests. Some were for radical measures, for Secession, for 
War ; others were conservative. Many were for the Union. 
Matters more than once had reached a white heat in that 
section, and it had looked for a long time as though an 
explosion must come. Yet the cooler heads had controlled, 
and when the final elections for the body that was to settle 
the momentous questions at issue at last came on, the most 
conservative men in the country had been selected. In our 
county. Dr. Gary and Mr. Bagby, both strong Union men, 
had been chosen over Major Legale and Mr. Gray, both 
ardent Democrats ; and one, the former, a hot Secession- 

When they arrived at the capital to attend the session 
of the Convention they found, perhaps, the most dis- 
tinguished body that had sat in the State in fifty years. 
In this great crisis both sides had put forward their best 
men, and in face of the nearing peril the wildest grew 
conservative. The body declared for Peace. 

Affairs moved rapidly, however ; excitement grew ; feel- 
ing changed. Yet the more conservative prevailed. 

One morning Dr. Cary received a report of a great pub- 
lic meeting held at the county seat, instructing him to 
vote for Secession. Many of his old supporters had signed 
it. He presented the resolutions at the desk, and stated 
their purport fully and strongly, amid cheers from the 
other side. 

" Now you will vote with us ? '' said one of the leaders 
on that side. 

" Not if every man in my county instructed me." 


" Then yon mnst resign ? " 

*' Not if every man in my county demanded it/' 

" Are yon tlie only wise man in the county ? " 

The voice trembled. Feeling was risiTig. 

The Doctor was looking his questioner full in the 

" If they signed such a paper, I should think so." 
And there were cheers from his side, and the vote was 
stayed for that day at least. Dr. Cary mad# an appeal for 
the Union that men remembered all their Kves. However 
they disagreed with him, they were moved by him. But 
the magazine was being stored fuller every moment. 

Tlien tlie spark fell and the explosion came. 

A week after this the call for troops by the President 
to put down Rebellion appeared in an extra in the city 
where the Convention sat. 

Invasion ! 

The whole people rose. From the time of Varrus down 
they had done so. The defences that conservatives like 
Dr. Cary had laboriously built up were swej^t away in an in- 
stant. The State went out with a rush. 

A"t the announcement the population poured into the 
streets and pu])lic squares in a great demonstration. It 
was tremendous — a maelstrom — a tornado — a conflagration. 
Men were caught up and tossed on jilatforms, that ap- 
peared as if by magic from nov/here, to makes speeches ; 
bonfires were lighted and bells were rung ; but the crowd 
shouted louder than the ringing of the bells, for it meant 
War : none could now withstand it. Suddenly from some 
public place a gun, which had been found and run out, 
boomed through the dusk, and the crowd roared louder 
than before, and made a rush in that direction, cheering 
as if for a great victory. 

Dr. Cary, stalking through the throng, silent and white, 
was recognized and lifted unresisting to a platform. 
After a great roar, tlie tumult hushed dowji for a mo- 
ment : for he was waitinij with close-shut mouth and blaz- 


ing eye, and lie had the reputation of being, when he 
chose to exert himself, an orator. Besides, it was not yet 
known what he would do, and he was a power in his sec- 

He broke the silence with a calm voice that went every- 
where. Without appearing to be strong, his voice was one 
of those strange instruments that filled every building 
with its finest tone and reached over every crowd to its 
farthest limit. With a gesture that, as men said after- 
ward, seemed to sweejj the horizon, he began : 

" The time has passed for talking. Go home and pre- 
pare for War. For it is on us." 

" Oh ! there is not going to be any war," cried someone, 
and a part of the crowd cheered. Dr. Gary turned on them. 

" No war ? We are at war now — with the greatest 
power on earth : the power of universal progress. It is 
not the North that we shall have to fight, but the world. 
Go home and make ready. If we have talked like fools, 
we shall at least fight like men." 

That night Dr. Gary walked into his lodgings alone and 
seated himself in the dusk. His old body-servant, Tar- 
quin, silent and dark, brought a light and set it conven- 
iently for him. He did not speak a word ; but his minis- 
trations were unusually attentive and every movement 
expressed adherence and sympathy. Suddenly his master 
broke the silence : 

" Tarquin, do you want to be free ? " 

"Lawd Gawd !" exclaimed Tarquin, stopping quite still 
uiid gazing in amazement. " Me ! Free ?" 

" If you do I will set you free, and give you money 
enough to live in Philadelphia." 

" No, suh ; Marster, you know I don' wan' be free," said 

*' Pack my trunk. I am going home." 

''When, suh ?" 

" I do not know exactly ; but shortly." 

Within a Aveek Dr. Gary was back at home, working. 


along with Major Legaie and the other secessionists, 
making preparation for equipping the companies that the 
county was going to send to tlie war. 

What a revolution that week had made in the old 
county ! In the face of the menace of invasion, after but 
ten days one would scarcely have known it. All division 
was ended : all parties were one. It was as if the county 
had declared war by itself and felt the whole burden of the 
struggle on its shoulders. From having been one of the 
most quiet, peaceful and conservative corners of the uni- 
verse, where a fox-hunt or an evening-party was the 
chief excitement of the year, and where the advent of a 
stranger was enough to convulse the entire community, 
it became suddenly a training ground and a camp, filled 
with bustle and preparation and the sound of arms. The 
haze of dust from men galloping by, hung over the high- 
ways all day long, and the cross-roads and the county seat, 
where the musters used to meet quarterly and where the 
Fourth of July celebrations were held, became scenes of 
almost metropolitan activity. 

Men appeared to spring from the ground as in the days 
of Cadmus, ready for war. Red Rock and Birdwood be- 
came recruiting-stations and depots of supply. ' From the 
big estates men came ; from the small homesteads amid 
their orchards, and from the cabins back among the pines 
— ail eager for war and with a new light in their eyes. 
Everyone was in the movement. Major Legaie was a 
colonel and Mr. Gray Avas a captain ; Dr. Gary was sur- 
geon, and even old Mr. Langstaff, under that fire of en- 
thusiasm, doffed his cassock for a uniform, merged his ec- 
clesiastical title of rector in the military one of chaplain, 
and made amends for the pacific nature of his prescribed 
prayers in church, by praying- before his company outside, 
prayers as diverse from the benignity of his nature, as the 
curses of Ezekiel or Jeremiah from the benediction of St. 
John the Aged. 

Miss Thomasia, who was always trying to meet some 

The visitors start south again 43 

■wants which only the sensitiveness of her own spirit appre- 
liended, enhirged her little academy in the office at Eed 
Rock, so as to take in all the children of the men around 
who had enlisted ; made them between their lessons pick 
lint, and opened her exercises daily with the most martial 
hymns she could find in the prayer-book, feeling in her sim- 
ple heart that she could do God no better service than to 
inculcate an undying jiatriotism along with undying piety. 
As for Blair, she had long deserted the anti-war side, horse, 
foot, and dragoons, and sewed on uniforms and picked lint ; 
wore badges of palmetto, and single stars on little blue 
flags sewed somewhat crookedly in the front of her frocks, 
and sang "•Dixie," "■ Mar3dand," and "The Bonny Blue 
Flag " all the time. 

Steve Allen and Morris Gary, on an hour's notice, had 
left the University where all the students were flocking 
into companies, and with pistols and sabres strajiped about 
their slender waists galloped up to the county seat to- 
gether one afternoon, in a cloud of dust, having outsped 
their telegrams, and, amid huzzas and the waving of hand- 
kerchiefs from the carriages lining the roadside, sjjurred 
their sweating horses straight to the end of the line that 
was drilling under Golonel Legale in the field beside the 
court-house. And so, with radiant faces and bounding 
hearts were enlisted for the war. Little Andy Stamper, 
the rescuer of the two visitors at the ford, was already 
there in line at the far end on one of his father's two farm- 
horses; and Jacquelin, on a blooded colt, was trying to keep 
as near in line with him as his excited four-year-old would 
permit. Even the servants, for whom some on the other 
side were pledging their blood, were warmly interested, 
and were acting more like clansmen than slaves. 

Hiram Still, Mr. Gray's tall manager, had a sudden re- 
turn of his old enemy, rheumatism, and was so drawn up 
that he had to go on crutches ; but was as enthusiastic as 
anyone, and lent money to help equip the companies — lent 
it not to the county, it is true, but to Mr. Gray and Dr. 


Cary on their joint security. He and Andy Stamper were 
not on good terms, yet he even offered to lend money to 
Andy Stamper to buy a horse with. Jacquelin, however, 
spared Andy this mortification. 

The boy, emancijiated from school, partly because his 
father was going off so shortly to the war, and partly be- 
cause Dr. Maule himself had enlisted and Mr. Elij^halet 
Bush, his successor, was not considered altogether sound 
politically, spent his time breaking his colt to stand the 
excitement of cavalry drill. Jacquelin and Andy were 
sworn friends, and hearing that Andy had apjjlied to Hi- 
ram Still to borrow money to buy a horse with, Jacquelin 
asked his father's consent to give him his colt, and was re- 
warded by the pick of the horses on the place, after the 
carriage horses, his father's own riding horse and Steve's. 
It was a proud moment for the boy when he rode the high- 
mettled bay he chose, over to the old Stamper place. 

Andy, in a new gray jacket, was sitting on the front 
steps, polishing his scabbard and accoutrements, old Mrs. 
Stamper was in her low, split-bottomed chair behind him, 
knitting a yarn sock for her soldier, and Delia Dove, with 
her plump cheeks glowing under her calico sun-bonnet, 
which she had pushed back from her round face, was seated 
on the bench in the little porch, toying with the wisteria- 
vine above her, and looking down on Andy with her black 
eyes softer than usual. 

Andy rose to greet Jacquelin as the boy gallojied up to 
the gate. 

"Come in, Jack. AVhat's up? Look out or he'll 
git you off him. That's the way to set him ! Ah ! " as 
Jacquelin swung himself down. 

" Here's a present for you," said Jacquelin. 

"What ?" 

" This horse ! " 

" What ! " 

" Yes : he's mine : papa gave him to me this morning 
and said I might give him to you. I took the jjick ■" 


" Well, by — " Andy was too much dazed to swear. 

"Jack — " This also ended. "Now let that Hiram 
Still ask for s'curity. Delia, I'll lick a regiment." He 
faced his sweetheart, who suddenly turned and caught 
Jacquelin and kissed him violently, bringing the red blood 
to the boy's fresh face. 

" If you'll do that to me I'll give him to you right now. 

D d 'i I don't ! " And the little recruit looked Miss 

Delia Dove in the eyes and gave a shake of his head for 
emphasis. The girl looked for one m^oment as if she were 
going to accept his offer. Then as Andy squared himself 
and opened his arms wide she considered, and, witli a toss 
of her head and a sparkle in her eyes, turned away. 

That moment the latch clicked and Hiram Still's daugh- 
ter, Virgy, stood beside tliem, shy and silent, veiled within 
her sun-bonnet. 

" Mr. Stamper, pappy says if you'll come over to see 
him about that business o' yourn, maybe he can make out 
to helja you out." 

She delivered the message automatically, and, with a shy 
glance at Jacquelin, and another, somewhat different, at 
Delia Dove, retired once more within the deep recesses of 
her sun-bonnet. 

• "Well, you tell your pappy that I say I'm much obliged 
to him ; but I ain't got any business with him that I knows 
on ; 't somebody else's done helped me out." The voice 
was kind, though the words were sarcastic. 

"Yes, sir. Good-even'." And with another shy glance 
and nod to each one in turn, the girl turned and went off 
as noiselessly as a hare. 

" That girl always gives me the creeps," said Delia, when 
Virgy had reached a safe distance. 

" How about Washy ?" asked Andy, at which Delia only 
sniffed disdainfully. 

Jacquelin Gray was not the only one of the youngsters 
whose patriotic fervor was rewarded. The ladies of the 
neighborhood made a banner for each of the companies that 


went forth, and Bluir Gary was selected to present the 
banner to the Red Rock company, which she did from the 
court-house balcony, with her laughing eyes sobered by 
excitement, her glowing face growing white and pink by 
turns, and her little tremulous speech, written by her 
fatlier and carefully conned by heart for days, much swal- 
lowed and almost inaudible in face of the large crowd 
filling all the space around, and of the brave company 
drawn up in the road below her. But she got through 
it — that part about " emulating the Spartan youth who 
came back with his shield or on it," and all ; and at the 
close she carried everyone away by a natural clasp of her 
little brown hands over her heart, as she said, " And don't 
you let them take it away from you, not ever," outstretching 
her arms to her father, who sat with moist eyes at one end 
of the line a little below her, with Jacquelin close beside 
him, his eyes like saucers for interest in, and admiration 
of, Blair. 

"Blair, that's the best speech that ever was made," cried 
the boy, enthusiastically, when he saw her ; " and Steve says 
so, too. Don't you wish I was old enough to go ? " The 
little girl's cheeks glowed with pleasure. 

The evening before Jacquelin's father went off, he called 
Jacquelin into his office, and rising, shut the door himself. 
They were alone, and Jacquelin was mystified. lie had 
never before been summoned for an interview with his 
father unless it were for a lecture, or worse. He hastily 
ran over in his mind his recent acts, but he could recall 
nothing that merited even censure, and curiosity took the 
place of wonderment. Wonder came back, however, when 
his father, motioning him to a seat, stood before him and 
began to address him in an entirely new and unknown tone. 
He talked to him as if he were a man. Jacquelin suddenly 
felt all his old timidity of his father vanish, and a new 
spirit, as it were, rise uj) in his heart. His father told him 
that now that he was going away to the war, he might never 
come back ; but he left, he said, with the assurance that 


whatever liappened, he would be worthily succeeded ; and 
he said that he was proud of him, and had the fullest con- 
fidence in him. He had never said anything like this to 
Jacquelin before, in all his life, and the boy felt a new sen- 
sation. He had no idea that his father had ever been satis- 
fied with him, much less been proud of him. It was like 
opening the skies and giving him a glimpse beyond them 
into a new heaven.- The boy suddenly rose, and flung his 
arms about his father's neck, and clung there, pouring out 
his heart to him. Then he sat down again, feeling like a 
shriven soul, and the father and son understood each other 
like two school-fellows. 

Mr. Gray told Jacquelin of his will. He had left his 
mother everything ; but it would be the same thing as if he- 
had left it to him and Rupert. He, as the oldest, was to 
have Red Rock, and Rupert the estate in the South. "■ I 
leave it to her, and I leave her to you," he said, putting 
his hand on the boy's shoulder. Jacquelin listened, his 
mind suddenly sobered and expanded to a man's measure. 

"And, Jacquelin," he said, "keep the old place. Make 
any sacrifice to do that. Landholding is one of the safe- 
guards of a gentry. Our people, for six generations, have 
never sold an acre, and I never knew a man who sold land 
that throve." 

" I will keep it, father," said the boy, earnestly. 

There were some debts, but not enough to amount to any- 
thing, his father told him ; the principal one was to Hii'am 
Still. Still had wanted him to keej) his money, and he had 
done so. It could be paid any time, if necessary. Still 
was a better man than he was given credit for. A bad 
manner made those who did not know him well, suspicious 
of him. But he was the best business man he had ever 
known, and he believed devoted to his interest. His 
father, old Mr. Still, had been overseer for Jacquelin's 
grandfather when Mr. Gray was a boy, and he could not 
forget him, and though Still was at present in poor health, 
he had contracted the disease while in their service at the 


South, and he would be glad to have him kept in his posi- 
tion as long as he treated the negroes well, and cared to 

"And, Jacquelin, one other thing : be a father to Ru- 
pert. See that he gets an education. It is the one patri- 
mony that no accident — not even war — can take away." 

Jacquelin promised his father that he would remember 
his injunctions, and try faithfully to keep them, everyone ; 
and when the two walked out, it was arm in arm like two 
brothers, and the old servants, looking at them, nodded 
their heads, and talked with pride of Jacquelin's growing 
resemblance to his grandfather. 

Next day the companies raised in the county started 
pff to the war, taking almost every man of serviceable age 
and strength, and many who were not. 

When they marched away it was like a triumphal pro- 
cession. The blue haze of spring lay over the woods, soft- 
ening the landscape, and filling it with peace. Tears were 
on some cheeks, no doubt; and many eyes were dimmed ; 
but kerchiefs and scarfs were waved by many who could 
not see, and fervent prayers went up from many hearts 
when the lips were too tremulous to speak. 



It is not proj)Osecl to attempt any relation of that part 
of the lives of the people in this record which was covered 
by the four years of war. That period was too tremendous 
to be made a mere fragment of any history. " After that 
tiie deluge." 

What pen could properly tell the story of those foui 
years ; what fittingly record the glory of that struggle, 
hopeless from the beginning, 3'et ever ajipearing to pluck 
success from the very abyss of impossibility, and by the 
sheer power of unconquerable valor to reverse the laws of 
nature and create the consummation it desired, in the face 
of insuperable force ? 

It was a great formative force in every life that i^artici- 
pated in it. It stamj^ed itself on every face. The whole 
country emptied itself into it. They went into it boys, 
and came out of it men — striplings, and came out of it 
heroes. But the eye once fastened on that flaming fire 
would be blinded for any lesser light. 

It is what took place after the war rather than what oc- 
curred during the struggle that this chronicle is concerned 

If the part that the men played in the war must be 
passed over in silence as too large for this history, how 
much more impossible would it be to describe fitly the part 
that the women performed. It was a harder part to fill, 
yet they filled it to the brim, good measure, overflowing. 
It is no disparagement to the men to say that whatever 
courage they displayed, it was less than that which the 
4 49 


women showed. Wherever a Southern woman stood dur- 
ing those four years, there in her small person was a 
garrison of the South, impregnable. 

Year after year the mills of war ground steadily array 
after array, and crushed province after province, and still 
the ranks filled and poured with intrepid daring into the 
abyss of destruction, to be ground like tlieir predecessors 
to dust ; until at the end there was nothing left to grind. 
Some day the historian, annalist or novelist, may arise to tell 
the mighty story, but meantime this pen must pass it by as 
too great a theme, and deal with the times that come after. 

One or two incidents, however, must be mentioned to 
fill the break and explain what came afterward. 

Colonel Gray, who had been early promoted, fell at the 
head of his regiment on one of those great days which are 
tlie milestones of history. 

His body was brought home and buried in the old 
graveyard at Eed Eock among generations of Grays, of 
whom, as old Mr. Langstaff, who had been bodily haled 
back to his parish by his congregation, said to the neigh- 
bors and servants about the grave, not one was a better or 
a braver man, or a truer gentleman. Colonel Gray's burial 
marked one of the steps of the war in that retired neigh- 

When it was all over, and the neighbors had gone home, 
and the servants had retired to their quarters, hushed to 
tliat vague quietude that follows tlie last putting away in 
the earth of those who have been near to us, Jacquelin came 
out of the office where he had held that last interview 
with his father, and walked into his mother's room. His 
shoulders were square and his figure erect. Mrs. Gray 
rose from her knees as he entered, and stood before him in 
her black dress, her face deadly white ; her eyes, full of 
fear, fastened on his face. 

"Mamma — " He stopped as if that were all he had to 
say, and, perhaps, it was ; for Mrs. Gray seated herself 


" Yes, my son." The fine, sad eyes grew wistful. How 
like he was to his father ! 

— " Because, you know, there ought to be one of iis in 
the old company, mamma," he said, quite as though he 
hud spoken the other sentence. 

" Yes, my son, I know." And the mother sighed, her 
heart breaking in spite of her resolve to be brave. 

" — And I am the only man of the name now — and I am 
fifteen and a whole head taller than Andy Stamper." 

" Yes, I know, my son." She had noticed it that day, 
and had known this would come. 

" And he is one of the best soldiers in the army — He 
said so. And if — if anything happens, yon have Rupert." 
He went on arguing, as though his mother had not agreed 
with him. 

" Yes, my son, I know." And Mrs. Gray rose suddenly 
and flung herself into his arms and hugged him and clung 
to him, and wept on his shoulder, as though he were his 

So the change comes : the boy in little tronsers sud- 
denly stands before the mother a man ; the little girl who 
was in her pinafores yesterday, to-day has stepped into 
full-blown womanhood ; and the children have gone ; the 
old has passed ; and the new is here. 

General Legale offered to make a place on his staff for 
Jacquelin ; but Jacquelin declined it. He wished to go 
into the Red Rock troop, of which Steve Allen was now 

" Because, mamma, all the men are in it, and Steve has 
refused a majority to stay with them, and there must be 
one of the Grays in the old company," he said with a rise 
of his head. 

Doan, of course, expected to go with his master ; but 
Mrs. Gray vetoed this ; she was afraid Doan might be 
killed : young men were so rash. She remembered that 
Doan was his mother's only son. So, by a compromise. Old 
Waverley was sent. He had so much judgment, she said. 


The year after Jacqueliu went away to the army the 
tide of war rolled nearer to the old county, and the next 
year, that which had been deemed impossible befell : it 
swept over it. 

When the invading army had passed, the county was 
scarcely recognizable. 

Jacquelin's career in the army was only that of many 
others — indeed, of many thousands of others : he went in a 
boy, but a boy who could ride any horse, and all day and 
all night ; sleep on stones or in mud ; and if told to go 
anywhere, would go as firmly and as surely among bayonets 
or belching guns as if it were in a garden of roses. 

Being the youngest man in his company, he might nat- 
urally have been a favorite in any case ; but when he was 
always ready to stand an extra tour of guard-duty, or to 
do anything else for a comrade, it placed his popularity 
beyond question. They used to call him ''The baby;" 
but after a sharp cavalry fight on a hill-top one afternoon 
they stopped this. Legaie's brigade charged, and find- 
ing infantry entrenched, were retiring amid smoke and 
dust and bullets, when Jacquelin, missing Morris Gary, 
who had been near him but a moment before, suddenly 
turned and galloped back through the smoke. Two or 
three men shouted and stopped, and Steve suddenly 
daslied back after the boy, followed by Andy Stam^Dcr and 
the whole company. There was a rally with the whole 
Red Rock troop in the lead, Steve Allen, with little Andy 
Stamper close behind, shouting and sabering like mad, 
which changed the fortune of the day. 

Poor Morris was found under his horse, past help ; but 
they brought his body out of the fray, and Jacquelin sent 
him home, with a letter which was harder to write than 
any cliarge he had ever made or was to make — harder 
even than to tell Dr. Gary, who was at the field. hospital 
and who received the announcement with only a sudden 
tightening of the mouth and whitening of the face. 
After that, Andy Stamper "allowed that Jacquelin's 


cradle was big enough for him " (Andy), which it cer- 
tainly was, by linear measurement, at least. 

Blair's letter to Jacquelin in rej^ly was more to him 
than General Legaie's mention of his name in his re- 

Blair was growing up to be almost a woman now. 
Women, as well as men, age rapidly amid battles, and 
nearly every letter Jacquelin received from home con- 
tained something about her. " What a pretty girl Blair 
has grown to be. You have no idea how we all lean on 
her," his mother wrote. Or Miss Thomasia would say : 
"I wish you could have heard Blair sing in church last 
Sunday. Her voice has developed unspeakable sweetness. 
It reminded me of her grandmother, Avhen I can first re- 
member her." 

It was not a great while after this that Jacquelin him- 
self Avent down one day, and had to be fought over, and 
though he fared better than poor Morris Gary, in that the 
bullet which brought him down only smashed his leg in- 
stead of finding his heart, it resulted in Steve getting both 
himself and his horse shot, and Jacquelin being left in the 
enemy's hands, along with Andy Stamper, who had fought 
over him, like the game little bantam that he was, until a 
big Irish Sergeant knocked him in the head with a carbine- 
barrel and came near ending the line of the Stampers then 
and there. Happily, Andy came to after a while, and was 
taken along with Jacquelin and sent to Point Lookout. 

Jacquelin and Andy stayed in prison a long time ; Andy 
because he was a hardy and untamed little warrior, of the 
kind which was drawn last for exchange ; and Jacquelin 
partly because he was unable to travel on account of his 
wound and partly because he would not accept an ex- 
change to leave Andy. 

One day, however, Andy got a letter which seriously af- 
fected him. It told him that Delia Dove was said to be 
going to marry Mr. Still. Within a week little Andy., 
whose constitution had hitherto appeared of iron, was in 


the liosi:)ital. The doctor told Jacqnelin that he thought 
he was seriously ill, and might die. 

That night Jacquelin scribbled a line to Andy and jDer- 
suaded a nurse, Miss Bush, a small woman with thin 
hair, a sharp nose and a complaining voice, but gentle 
eyes and a kind heart, to get it to him. It ran : " Hold 
on for Delia^s sake. AVe^ll get exchanged before long." 

"■' Who is Delia ?" asked the nurse, looking at the paper 
doubtfully. It Avas against orders to carry notes. 

"His sweetheart.'" 

The nurse took the note. 

In a week Andy was ready to be out of the hospital. 

The next morning Jacquelin and the doctor had a long 
talk, and later on, Jacquelin and the nurse ; and when the 
next draft for exchange came, the name of Jacquelin Gray 
was on it. But Andy Stamper's was not. So the nurse 
told Jacquelin. Another note was written and conveyed 
by Miss Bush, and that evening, when the line of prisoners 
for exchange marched out of the prison yard, Andy 
Stamper, with his old blanket pulled up around his face 
and a crutch under his arm, was in it. Jacquelin was 
watching from a corner of the hospital window while the 
line was insi^ected. Andy answered the questions all 
right — Private in Company A, — th Cavalry ; captured at 

; wounded in leg ; and just left hospital. As the 

last guard filed out behind the ragged line and the big 
gate swung to, Jacquelin hobbled back to his cot and lay 
with his face to the wall. The nurse came by presently 
and stopping, looked down at him. 

" Now youVe gone and ruined your chance for ever," 
she said in the querulous tone habitual with her. 

Jacquelin shut his eyes tightly, then opened them and 
without a word gazed straight at the wall not a foot before 
him. Suddenly the woman bent close down over him and 
kissed him. 

'*' You are a dear boy." The next instant she went 
back to her duty. 


An effort was made to get an exchange for Jacquelin, 
tlie principal agents being a nurse in the prison-hospital 
and a philanthropical friend of hers, a Mrs. "Welch, 
through whom the nurse had secured her position ; but 
the answer was conclusive : 

*' Jacquelin Gray has already been exchanged/' 

As for Andy, when he reached home he found the re- 
port about Miss Delia Dove to be at least premature. It 
was not only Mr. Washington Still, but Hiram as well, 
who was unpleasantly attentive to her, and Miss Delia, 
after the first burst of genuine delight at Andy's unex- 
pected appearance, proceeded to use the prerogative of 
her sex and wring her lover's heart by pretending to be 
pleased by his new rival's attentions. Andy, accordingly, 
did not stay long at home, but accepting the renewed 
proffer of a loan from Hiram Still to buy a horse, was 
soon back with the old company, sadly wasted by this time 
and only kept up by the new recruits, on whom Andy 
looked with disdain. 

When Wash Still was drafted from the dispensary de- 
partment of the hospital service it was some consolation 
that he was at least banished from dangerous proximity to 
Miss Delia, but it was hard to have to accept him as a com- 
rade, and Andy's sunburned nose was always turned up 
when Wash was around. 

" Washy Still in place of Jacquelin Gray," he sniffed ; 
*^a dinged little 'pothecary-shop sweeper for a boy as 
didn't mind bullets no mo' than flies. I bet he's got pills 
in that pistol now ! And he to be a-settin' up to Delia 
Dove ! " 

However, a few months later Andy had his reward. 

So it happened, that when the end came, Andy was 
back Avith the old company, and Jacquelin was still in 



The home-coming of the men who went to the war was 
about the same time of tlie year that most of them went 
forth. While the troops of the victorious army were 
parading amid the accLaims of multitudes, the remnants 
of that other army that had met and defeated them so 
often were making their way back to their dismantled 
homes, with everything they had fought for lost, save 
honor. They came home singly or in squads from north- 
ward, eastward and westward, Avherever their commands 
happened to be when the final collapse came. And but 
for certain physical landmarks they would scarcely have 
known the old neighborhood. The blue mountains still 
stretched across the skyline, with the nearer spurs nestled 
at their feet ; the streams still ran through the little 
valleys between the hills, under their willows and syca- 
mores, as they ran v^hen Steve Allen and Jacquelin and 
the other boys fished and swam in them ; but the bridges 
were o-one, and the fishing-holes were dammed with fallen 
trees, some of them cut down during the battles that had 
been fought on their banks. And the roads made by the 
army-wagons often turned out through the unfenced fields 
and the pillaged and fire-scorched forests. 

Dr. Gary, now known as Major Gary, from his title as 
surgeon in General Legaie's brigade, and Captain Allen 
and Sergeant Stamper came home together as they had 
ridden away together through the April haze four years 
before. They had started from tlic place of their surren- 
der with a considerable company, who had dropped off 



from time to time as they had arrived at the roads which 
took them their several ways, and these three were the 
last to separate. When they parted, it was at the forks 
where the old brick church had stood when they last 
passed that way. The church had gone down in the track 
of war. Nothing remained of it now except fragments of 
the walls, and even these were already half hidden by the 
thicket which had grown up around them. It brought 
the whole situation very close home to them ; for they all 
had memories of it : Dr. Gary had buried his father and 
mother there, and Stamper and Delia Dove had been mar- 
ried in it a year before. And they did not have a great 
many words to speak — perhaps, none at all at the very 
last — only a "Well — Well I" with a rising inflection, iind 
something like a sigh ; and then, after a long pause, from 
the older officer, a sudden : " Well, good-by, Steve ; 
— good-by. Sergeant. We'll have to begin over again. — 
God bless you — Gome over and see me. Good-by." And 
from each of the other two, " Good-by, Major — 1 will ; — 
Good-by, Tarquin," to tlie Major's tall, gray-haired body- 
servant, waiting silently, on his weary horse ; then a couple 
of hard handgrips and silence ; and the horses went plash- 
ing off in the mud, slow and sullen, reluctant to leave 
each other. All turned once to look back ; caught each 
other's glances and waved their hands ; and then rode on 
through the mud, their heads sunk on their chests, and 
the officer's two body-servants, old Tarquin and young 
Je*-ry, following silently behind their masters. 

The meeting at home was in the dusk. 

The little group waiting on the hill-top at Dr. Gary's for 
the small cavalcade as they rode up through the waning 
light had been waiting and watcliing for days ; but there 
were no words spoken at the meeting. Only, Mrs. Gary 
walked out from the others and met her husband a j^art 
of the way down the hill, and Blair followed her a moment 

When the doctor reached his door, walking between his 


wife and daughter, an arm around each, he turned to his 
old servant, who was holding the horses : 

" Tarquin, you are free. I present you the horse you 
rode home. Take the saddles off, and turn them out."" 
And he walked into the house, shaking by the hand the 
servants clustered about the door. 

It was only when he was inside, facing the portrait of a 
young boy with handsome, dark eyes, that he gave way. 

The very next day Dr. Gary, to use a commercial phrase, 
began to "take stock." 

"Taking stock" is always a serious thing to do, and it 
must come often into every thoughtful man's life. He is 
his own ledger. In all cases he must look back and meas- 
ure himself by himself. Perhaps some hour brings him 
some question on which all must hinge. It may come un- 
expectedly, or he may have seen it advancing with inevi- 
table steps. He may have brought it on himself, or he 
may have fought strenuously against it. It is all the 
same. It comes straight down upon him, a cyclone threat- 
ening to overwhelm him, and he must meet it either as 
a brave man or a craven. It comes, sweeps past or over 
him and leaves him in its track, unscathed or wounded 
or slain. But it comes. And this is Life. The ancients 
called it Fate ; we call it Providence or Chance, or the 
result of natural laws. But by whatever name known, it 
is inscrutable. 

So Dr. Gary felt that soft sj^ring morning as he stood 
on the front porch of the roomy and rambling old man- 
sion, where the Garys had had their seat and had made 
the Birdwood hospitality celebrated for more than two 
hundred years, and looked across the wide lawn, once well 
trimmed and filled with shrubbery and flowers, now ragged 
and torn. His eye took in the whole scene. The wide 
fields, once teeming with life, stretched before him now 
empty and silent ; the fences were broken down or had 
disappeared altogether. And yet the grass was fresh and 
green, the trees and bushes were just bursting from bud to 


leaf ; the far-off monntains rose bine and tender across the 
newly washed sky ; the birds were flitting and singing 
joyously, and somewhere, around the house, a young girl's 
voice was singing sweeter than any of the birds. The 
look on the old soldier's face was for a moment one of 
deep gravity, if not of dejection ; but it passed away the 
next instant, as Blair's song reached him and as a steji 
sounded behind him, and a hand was laid lightly on his 
shoulder, followed by an even softer touch on his arm, as 
his wife's face rested for a moment against it. At the 
caressing touch his expression changed, he looked down 
in her eyes and, when he spoke, it was with a new light 
in his own eyes and a new tone in his voice. 

"Well, Bess, we'll begin all over again. We have 
each other, and we have Blair, and we have — the land. It 
s as much as our forefathers began with. At least, I 
til ink we have tlie land — I don't suppose they'll take that 
away. If they do — why, we have each other and Blair, 
iinyhow. If we only had the boy ! " He turned his face 

" He died for his country," said the mother, though 
her voice belied the courage of her words. 

"He died like a soldier : Avitli all his wounds before." 
He looked down into his wife's eyes. 

" Yes." And she sighed deeply. 

' ' We have to take care of what's left. Where is Jim 
Sherwood ? I have not seen him." 

" He has gone." 

"What!" The Doctor gave a whistle of amazement. 
" I'd almost as soon have expected Mammy Krenda and 
Tarquin to leave." Jim was one of the most trusted men 
about the place, a sort of preacher and leader, and had mar- 
ried, as his third wife. Mammy Krenda's daughter, Jane. 

" Yes, Jim has gone. He went two weeks ago, and I 
was rather glad he went," said Mrs. Gary. " He had never 
been quite the same since the Yankees came through ; you 
know he behaved very badly then. He had changed more 


than almost anyone of them who remained. He had been 
preaching a good deal lately, and appeared to be stirring 
the others up more than I liked. There seemed to have 
been some influence at work among them that I could not 
understand. It was said that Mr. Still, Helen's manager — 
But I don't know," — she broke off. " I heard them one 
night, at the house, and went out to the church where they 
were, and found them in a great state of excitement, 1'hey 
quieted down when I appeared. That repulsive creature, 
Mr, Gray's Moses, was there, and I ordered him home, and 
gave them a talk, and the next morning Jim Sherwood was 
missing too, and a few days later Jane said that she had to 
go also, I told them they were free, but if they remained 
here they must observe my regulations, I put Gideon in 
charge and told him you would look to him to keej) ordre 
till you came. And he has done so to the best of his abil- 
ity, I believe, I hear that he gave Jim Sherwood to un- 
derstand that he would have no more of his preaching here 
for the present, and that if he wanted to preach for Hiram 
Still he could go to Ked Rock and do it, not here. And 
now you are here, this is the end of my stewardship, and I 
surrender it into your hands," 

She made her husband, half-mockingly, a profound 
curtsey — perhaps to turn off the serious thoughts which 
her words called up. But the Doctor declared that, at 
least, one of her slaves recognized too well the blessing of 
servitude to such a mistress to wish for freedom, and that 
he declined to assume control, 

" Why, Bess, we men fought a quarter of the war and 
you women fought three-quarters. Do you imagine we 
want to de2:)ose you ? " 

Just then a young girl came around the corner of the 
house, her dark eyes full of light ; her hair blown back 
from her forehead by the morning breeze, and her hands 
full of jonquils and other early flowers. Her face was glow- 
ing with the exercise slie has been taking, and her whole 
person was radiant with youth. 


" The morn is breaking. Here conies Aurora/' said her 
father, gazing at her fondly, at which Miss Blair's cheeks 
glowed only the more. 

It was proposed by the Doctor that they should invite to 
dinner such of their friends as had arrived at home and 
could be reached. 

" Our first reunion," said Mrs. Gary, smiling, and she 
began to give what she called her menu, in which, corn- 
bread, dried fruit, black-eyed pease, and welcome figured as 
the principal dishes. She laughed at her husband's dumb 

" Bess," said the Doctor, humbly, " I retract what I said 
a little while ago about our having fought a fourth of the 
war — it was the speech of a braggart." And having fol- 
lowed her with his eyes, as she went into the house, he 
walked around to have a talk with his negroes. 

He found a number of them congregated and evidently 
expecting something of the kind. 

" Gideon, tell the men I wish to speak to them." 

In fifteen minutes they had collected. He called them 
all up, and standing on the portico of the office where he 
had been accustomed to speak with them, addressed a few 
calm words to them. 

For a moment he went over the past. They had been 
faithful servants, he said. And he was glad to be able to 
say this to them. Now there were to be new relations be- 
tween them. He told them they were free — on which 
there was an audible murmur of acquiescence — and they 
could leave, if they pleased. There was another murmur 
of satisfaction. But if they remained they would have 
to work and be subject to his authority. 

Upon this many of the older ones signified their assent, 
while some of the others turned and, looking back, called 
to some one in the rear of the crowd : 

" Come, Brer Sherrod, you done heah de noration ; now 
come and gi' de 'sponse." 

A low, stout negro, of middle age, whom the Doctor had 


not before noticed, came forward somewhat sheepishly, 
but with a certain swagger in his gait. It was evidently 
concerted. The Doctor's mind acted quickly. At the 
speaker's first word, he cut him short. 

" I decline to allow Jim Sherwood to be the spokes- 
man," he said. " He does not belong here. I left him in 
a position of trust, and he has failed in it. Fall to the 
rear ; I make no terms with outsiders." 

Taken by surprise at the tone of authority, the exhorter 
fell or was moved back, in sudden confusion, while the 
doctor went on : 

''Gideon, I appoint you ; you have proved trustworthy. 
This place has supported two hundred souls in the past, 
and we can make it do so again. Tell them that all those 
who remain here and work under you, including Sher- 
wood, shall be supported and treated fairly and paid what 
is proper if it takes every acre I have to do it ; the others 
can go and find homes elsewhere." He turned on his heel 
and walked into the house. 

The next day there was a good force at work in the 

Some of those he had addressed had gone off in tlie 
night; but most of them remained, and the Doctor told 
Mrs. Gary he thought things would work out all riglit ; he 
was ready to accept present conditions, and matters would 
adjust themselves. 

" Time is the adjuster," he said. 



It was a little over two weeks or, jjerhaps, three, after 
the Confederate armies had laid down tlieir arms and dis- 
banded, and the rest of the men from the county had 
turned their faces homeward with, or without, their paroles 
in their pockets, that a train which had been crawling all 
night over the shaky track, stopped in the morning near the 
little station, or what remained of it, on the edge of the 
county, where persons bound for nearly all that region got 
off. A passenger was helped down by the conductor and 
brakeman and was laid, with his crutch and blanket, as 
gently as might be, on a bank a little way from the track. 

''Are you all right now? Do you think you can get 
on ? You are sure someone will come for you ? " asked 
the train men. 

" Oh ! yes ; I feel better already." And the young fel- 
low stretched out his hands in the gray dawn and felt the 
moist earth on either side of him almost tenderly. 

As the railroad men climbed back into the car they were 
conversing together in low tones. 

"■ Unless his friends come before many hours they won't 
find him," said one of them. " I don't know but what we 
ought to a' brought him along, any way." 

But Jacquelin Gray had more staying power than they 
gave him credit for, and the very touch of the soil he 
loved did him good. He dragged himself a little way up, 
stretched himself out under a tree on the grass near 
where they had laid him, and went to sleep like a baby. 
The sun came up over the dewy trees and warmed him, 



and lie only turned and slept on, dreaming that lie luid 
escaped from prison and reached the old county too weary 
to go any farther, and so, lay down on a bank and waited 
for someone to come for him. How often he had dreamed 
that, and had awaked to find himself in his old cot in the 
hospital, maybe, with the guard peering down at him 
with his lantern. Suddenly a shadow fell across his face, 
and he woke and looked up. Yes, there was the guard, 
three or four of them, gazing down on him in their blue 

" Jacquelin Gray. No. — . Ward ten,'^ he muttered 
wearily, as he used to do in the hospital, and was closing 
his eyes again when he awaked fully. Two or three Fed- 
eral soldiers, one of them an officer, a little fellow with 
blue eyes, were leaning over him, and a cavalry company 
was yonder at rest, in the road below him. lie was free 
after all, back in the old county. 

The Lieutenant asked him his name and how he came 
there, and he told them. 

" Where are you going ? " 

" Home ! " with a little flash in his eye. 

'' Where is that ? " 

'^ Above here, across the country, in the Red Rock 
neighborhood — beyond Brutusville." 

" Why, we are going that way ourselves — we were going 
to give you a decent burial ; but maybe we can do you a 
better turn if you are not ready for immortality ; we've an 
ambulance along, and here's the best substitute for the 
honor we offered you." 

The little Lieutenant was so cheery as he pressed the 
canteen to Jacquelin's lips that the latter could not help 
feeling better. 

The Captain, who had remained with the company, came 
over, on his handsome horse, picking his way through the 
debris lying about. 

" So he is alive after all ? " he asked as he rode up. 

*' Alive ? Well, if you'd seen the way he took this I*' 


And the Lieutenant sliook liis canteen up beside his ear, 
as if to gauge its remaining contents ; then held it to 
Jacquelin again. 

'' Have another pull ? No ? All right — when you want 
it. You aren't the first reb's had a swig at it." 

Then he repeated to his superior, a tall, handsome fellow, 
what Jacquelin had told him as to his name and destina- 
tion. In an instant the Captain had sprung from his horse. 

"Jacquelin Gray ! Red Eock ! — By Jove! It can't 
be ! " He stared down at the man on the ground. 

" Do you mean to say that you live at a place called 
' Red Rock ' — a great plantation, with a big rock by a 
burial-ground, and a red stain on it, said to be an Indian's 

Jacquelin nodded. 

" AYell by ! What's the matter with you ? Where 

have you been ? What are you dressed this way for ? — I 
mean an old plantation where there was a wedding — or a 
wedding-party, about five years ago — ? " he broke out, as 
if it were impossible to believe it. "And — a little girl, 
named Blair Something, sang ? " 

Jacquelin nodded. 

" Yes, that's the place — Miss Blair Gary. But who 
are — ? What do you know about ? " 

" Well, I'm— Here, Reely, call Sergeant O'Meara ; tell 
him to send the ambulance here directly," interrupted the 
Gap tain. He turned back to Jacquelin. 

" Don't you remember me ? I'm Middleton — Lawrence 
Middleton. Don't you remember? I happened in that 
night with Mr. Welch, and you took care of us ? I've 
never forgotten it." 

" I remember it — you painted the horse red," said 

" Yes — it was really this fellow, Reely Thurston. He 
is the one that got me into all tliat trouble. And he has 
got me into a lot more since. But where have you been 
that you look like this ? " 


Jticqneliu told him. 

By this time several of the people from the few houses 
ill the neighborhood of the stiition, who had at first kept 
aloof from the troop of soldiers and gazed at them from a 
distance, had come up, seeing that they had a Confederate 
with them. They recognized Jacquelin and began to talk 
about his appearance, and to make cutting speeches as to 
the treatment he had undergone. 

" We ain't forgot your Pa," some of them said. 

''Nor you neither," said one of the Avomen, wdio added 
that she was Andy Stamper's cousin. 

They wanted Jacquelin to stay with them and let them 
take care of him until his mothei' could send for him. 
Captain Allen had been down to see about him, and Andy 
Stamper had been there several times, and had said that if 
he didn't hear anytiiing from him next time, he was going 
North to see about him, if he had to ride his old horse 

Jacquelin, however, was so anxious to get home that, 
notwithstanding the pressing invitations of his friends, he 
accepted the offer of the Federal officers, and, after getting 
a cup of colfee from Andy's cousin — who said it was the first 
she had had in three years — he was helped up in the am- 
bulance and was driven off. 

The company, it seemed, had come up from the city 
the day before and had encamped a little below the sta- 
tion, and was marching to Brutusville, where it was to 
bo posted. 

Julius, General Legaie's old butler, met them near the 
court-house and plunged out in the mud and wrung 
Jacquelin's hand, thanking God for his return. 

The old butler was on the lookout for his master, 
who had not come home yet, and about whom he was 
beginning to be very uneasy. The General had gone South 
somewhere " to keep on fightin'," Julius told Jacquelin, 
and he invited him to come by and sjiend the night, and 
offered to go on himself and let his mother know he had 


come. The old fellow, iu his best clothes — a high hat and 
an old blue coat with brass buttons — and with his best 
manners, caused much amusement to the soldiers, and 
Lieutenant Thurston undertook to tease him. 

** You haven't any master now," he said. 

The old servant looked at him. 

"I ain't? Does you think I'se a free nigger?" he 
asked, sharjily, " 'Cause I ain't ! " 

" Yes, but I mean we've taken your master prisoner." 

"You is?" He looked at him again keenly. "Nor, 
you ain't. It'll teck a bigger man 'n you to teck my 
master prisoner — And he ain' big as you nuther," he said, 
with a snap of his eyes. " He ain't de kind dat s'renders." 

" We'll have to stand in on this togetlier," said the little 
Lieutenant across to Jacquelin, as the laugh went round ; 
and then to Julius, with a wave of his hand toward 
Jacquelin, " Well, what do you say to that gentleman's 
having surrendered ? " 

The old darky was quick enougli, however. 

" He was shot, and besides t/ou never got him. I know 
you never got nigh enough to liim in battle to shoot him." 

"I think you'll have to go this alone," said Jacque- 
lin. The Lieutenant admitted himself routed. 

Late that evening Jacquelin's ambulance was toiling up 
the hill to Red Rock, while the troop of cavalry, sent to 
keep order in that section, with its tents pitched in tlie 
court-house yard under the big trees, were taking a sur- 
vey of the place they had come to govern. Little Tlnir- 
ston, who, as they rode in, had caught sight of a plump 
young girl gazing at them from the open door of the old 
clerk's office, with mingled curiosity and defiance, declared 
that it was not half as bad as some places he had been in 
in the South. At that moment, as it happened. Miss 
Elizabeth Dockett, the young lady in question, daughter 
of Mr. Dockett, the old County Clerk, was describing to 
her mother the little Lieutenant as the most ridiculous 
and odious-looking little person in the world. 


It was niglit when Jacqnelin reached home ; bnt so keen 
was the watch in those times, that the ambuhiuce had been 
heard in the dark, so that when he arrived tliere was quite 
a crowd on the hxwn ready to receive him, and the next 
moment he was in his mother's arms. 

Sergeant- O'Meara, who had been detailed to go on with 
the ambulance, took back to the court-house an account 
of tlie meeting. 

" It was wnrruth the drive," he said, ''to see ^im whan 
we got there. An' if I'd been th' Gineral himself, or the 
Captain, they couldn't V made more fuss over me. 
Bedad ! I thought they moust tak' me for a Gineral 
at least ; but no, ut was me native gintilitee. I was that 
proud of meself I almost shed tears of j'y. The only 
thing I lacked was some wan to say me so gran' that could 
appreciate me. An ould gintleman — a Docther Major 
Cary — a good Oirish naim, bedad ! — was there to say wan 
of the leddies, and ivery toime a leddy cooms in, oop he 
gits, and bows very gran', an' the leddy bows an' passes by, 
an' down he sets, an' I watches hira out o' the tail of me 
eye, an' ivery toime he gits oup, oup I gits too. An' I 
says : 

" '1 always rise for the leddies ; me mither was a leddy,' 
an' he says, with a verra gran' bow : ' Yis,' he says, ' an' 
]ier son is a gintleman, too.' What dy'e think o' that ? 
An' I says, ' Yis, I know he is.' " 

Next morning Jacqnelin was in a very softened mood. 
The joy of being free and at home again was tempered by 
memoi'y of the i)ast and realization of the present ; but he 
was filled with a profound feeling which, perhaps, he him- 
self could not have named. As he hobbled out to the 
front portico and ga55ed around on the wide fields spread 
out below him, with that winding ribbon of tender green, 
where the river ran between its borders of willows and 
sycamores, he renewed his resolve to follow in his father's 
footsteps. He would keep the place at all sacrifices. He 
was in this pleasant frame of mind when Hiram Still came 


aronud the house. Still had aged during the war, his 
voice had become more confidential. 

As lie came up to Jacquelin, the hitter, notwithstanding 
his outstretched hand and warm words, had a sudden re- 
turn of his old feeling of susjiicion and dislike. 

" Mr. Jacquelin, I swan, I am glad to see you, snh — 
an' to see you lookin' so well. I told yo' Ma you'd come 
back all right. An' I told that Yankee what brought 
you up last night that 'twas a shame they treated you as 
they done, and if you hadn't come back all right we'd 'a' 
come up thar an' cleaned 'em out. Yes, sir, we would 

"I sent him off this mornin' — saw him acrost the ford 
myself ;" he added, lowering his voice confidentially, "be- 
cause I don't like to have 'em prowling around my place — 
o'lcr place — too much. Stirs up th' niggers so you can't get 
no work out of 'em. And I didn't like that fellow's looks, 
particularly. "Well, I certainly am glad to see you lookiu' 
so well." 

Jacquelin felt doubly rebuked for his unjust suspicions, 
and, as a compensation, told Mr. Still of his last conversa- 
tion Avitli his father, and of wliat his father had said of 
him. Still was moved almost to tears. 

"Your father was the best friend I ever had in this 
world, Mr. Jack," he said. " I'll never — " he had to turn 
his face away. " You can't do no better than your 

"No, indeed," Jacquelin agreed to that. All he wished 
was to do just what his father had done — He was not well ; 
and he should leave the management of the place to Mr. 
Still, just as his father had done — at least, till they knew 
how things stood, he added. 

There was a slight return of a look which had been 
once or twice in Still's downcast eyes, and he raised them 
to take a covert glance at Jacqueliu's face. Jacquelin, 
however, did not see it. He was really suffering greatly 
from his wound ; and the expression he caught on Still's 

to Hed kock 

ftice was only one of deep concern. He asked after Still's 

AVasli had gone to the city to study medicine, Still said. 

" We pore folks as ain't got a fine plantation like this has 
got to have a trade or something." 

Virgy was at home keeping house for him. She was 
a good big girl now — " most grown like Miss Blair/' he 

There was a slight tone in the manager's voice which 
somehow grated on Jacquelin a little, he did not know 
why. And he changed the subject rather shortly. 

Some time he wished to talk to Mr. Still about that Deep- 
run jilantation in the South, he said, as he had attended 
to stocking it and knew more about it than anyone else ; 
but he did not think he was equal to it just then. Still 
agreed that this was right, also that the first thing for 
Jacquelin to do now was to take care of himself and get 

Just then Andy Stamper came round the house, with a 
bucket in one hand and a buncli of flowers in the other. 
At sight of Jacquelin his face lit up Avith ijleasure. Before 
Andy could nod to Hiram the latter had gone, with a 
queer look on his face, and something not unlike a slink 
in his gait. 

The bucket Andy had brought was full of eggs, which 
Delia Dove, Andy said, had sent Jacquelin, and she had 
sent the flowers too. 

"1 never see anyone like her for chickens an' flowers," 
said Andy. " She's a good friend o' yours. I thought when 
I got home I wa'n't goin' to get her after all. I thought 
she'd 'a' sent me back to P'int Lookout," he laughed. 

His expression changed after a moment. 

"I see Hiram's been to see you — to wish you well .'* 
Don't know what's the reason, he kind o' cuts out when- 
ever I come 'roun'. Looks almost like he's got some'n' 
ag'inst mo ; yet he done me a mighty good turn when 1 
was married ; he come and insisted on lendin' me some 


money, not only to buy a horse with fer the ole woman : 
but a horse to go back in th"* army with — a whole basket- 
ful of money, and he's been lendin' all aroun' the neigh- 
borhood ; an' don't seem to be in no hurry to git it back — 
If you Jest give him a little slip o' writin' on yo' land, 
that's all. Yet, somehow, he always r'minds me of a 
mink, kind of slippy-like. He don't do things all at once. 
He didn't tell me he wanted no deed ; but after I was 
gone, he got one from the old lady— said 'twould be all 
right, and I could pay him any time ; he jest wanted it 
in case he died, and she didn' know no better than to sign 
it. I'm goin' to pay him off, first money I git. I never 
would V borrowed it 'cept I was so anxious to go l)ack in 
the army — an' to git Delia. Hiram thought he was sure 
to win." The little soldier's face always lighted up when 
he referred to his wife, 

Jacquelin protested that he thought Still a better fellow 
than Andy would admit, and added that his father had 
always esteemed him highly. 

" Yes, I know that ; but the Colonel didn't know him, 
Mr. Jack, and he wasn't lookin' out for him. I don't like 
a man I can't understand. If you know he's a liar, you 
needn't b'lieve him ; but if you aint found him out yet, he 
gets aroun' you. Hiram is that sort. I know he ns't to 
be a liar, an' I don't b'lieve folks recovers from that dis- 
ease. So I'm goin' to j^ay him off. An' you do the same. 
I tell you, he's a schemer, an' he's lookin' up." 

Just then there was a light step behind them, a shadow 
fell on the veranda, which, to one of them, at least, was 
followed by an apparition of light — as, with a smothered 
cry of, "Jacquelin!" a young girl, her hair blowing about 
her brow, ran forward, and as the wounded soldier rose, 
threw her arms around his neck. Blair Gary looked like 
a rose as she drew back in a pretty confusion, her blushea 
growing deeper every moment. 

'MVhy, Blair, how pretty you've grown!" exclaimed 
Jacquelin, thinking only of her beauty, 


" Well, yon talk a,s if you were very mncli surprised," 
and Miss Blair bridled with pretended indignation. 

" Oh ! No— Of course, not. I only " 

" Oh ! yes, you do," and she tossed her pretty head with 
well-feigned disdain. " You are as bold with your com- 
pliments as you were with your sword." 

She turned from him to Sergeant Stamper, who was re- 
garding her with open-mouthed admiration. 

" How do you do. Sergeant Stamper ? How's Delia ? 
And how are her new chickens ? Tell her she isn't to keep 
on sending them all to me. I am going to learn to raise 
them for myself now." 

" I daren't tell her that," said the little fellow. " You 
know I can't do nothin' with Delia Dove. You're the only 
one can do that. If I tell her that, she'd discharge me, 
an' sen' me 'way from the place." 

" I'm glad to see she's breaking you in so well," laughed 

In a short time all the soldiers from the old county who 
were left were back at home, together with some who were 
not originally from that county, but avIio, having nowhere 
better to go, and no means to go with, even if they had 
had, and finding themselves stranded by the receding tide, 
pitched their tents permanently where they had only in- 
tended to bivouac, and thus, by the simple process of stay- 
ing there, became permanent residents. 

The day after that on which Jacquelin arrived, General 
Legale, to the delight of old Julius and of such other 
servants as yet remained on his place, turned up, dusty, 
and worn, but still serene and undispirited. He marched 
into his dismantled mansion with as proud a step as when 
he left it, and took j)ossession of it as though it had been 
a castle. With him was an ofiicer to whom the General 
offered the hospitalities of the house as though it had been 
a palace, and to whom he paid as courtly attention as if 
he had been a prince. 


" This is Julius, Captain, of whom I have spoken to 
you,^' he said, after he had shaken hands with the old but- 
ler, and with the score of otlier negroes who had rushed 
out and gathered around him on hearing of his arrival. 
" Julius will attend to you, and unless he has lost some of 
iiis art you will confess that I have not exaggerated his 
abilities/' He faced his guest and made him a low bow. 
'"' I hope. Captain, you will consider this your home as 
long as you wish. Julius, the Captain will stay Avith us 
for the present, and I suspect he'd like a Julep." And 
with a wave of the hand the little General transferred the 
responsibility of his guest to the old butler, who stood 
bowing, dividing his glances between those of affection 
for his master and of shrewd inspection of the visitor. 

The latter was a tall, spare man, rather sallow than 
dark, but with a piercing, black eye, and a closely shut 
mouth under a long, black, drooping mustache. He ac- 
knowledged the General's speech with a civil word, and 
Julius's bow with a nod and a look, short but keen and 
inquiring, and then, flinging himself into the best seat, 
leant his head back and half closed his eyes, while the Gen- 
eral went out and received the negroes, who, with smiling 
faces, were still gathering on the news of his arrival. 

During this absence the guest did not rise from his 
chair ; but turned his head slowly from time to time, until 
his eyes had rested on every article in the field of his vis- 
ion. He might have been making an appraisement. 

The General, in fact, did not know any more of his 
guest than Julius knew. He had come on him only that 
afternoon at a fork in the road, resting, stretched out on 
a couple of fence-rails, while his horse nibbled and picked 
at the grass and leaves near by. The gray uniform, some- 
what fresher than those the General was accustomed to, 
attracted the General's attention, and when Captain Mc- 
Raffle, as the stranger called himself, asked him the nearest 
way to Brutusville, or to some gentleman's house, the Gen- 
eral at once invited him to his home. He had heard, he 


stated, that a company of Yankees had already been sent 
to Brutusville ; but he could show him the way to a house 
where gentlemen had lived in the past, and where, if he 
thought he would pass muster, one was about to live 
again. And with this invitation Captain McRaffle became 
an inmate of Thornleigh, as the General's place was called, 
and might have stayed there indefinitely had not unfore- 
seen contingencies caused him to remove his quarters. 

Just as the General returned from his reception on the 
veranda, the old butler entered with a waiter and two ju- 
leps sparkling in their glasses. At sight of them the Gen- 
eral beamed, and even the guest's cold eyes lit up. 

" On my soul ! he is the most remarkable fellow in the 
world," declared the General to his visitor. " Where did 
you get this ? " 

" Well, you see, suh," said Julius, " de Yankees over 
yander was givin' out rations, and I thought I'd git a few, 
so's to be ready for you 'ginst you come." 

The General smiled delightedly, and between the sips 
of his julep proceeded to extract from Julius all the news 
of the county since his last visit, a year or more before, 
and to give a running commentary of his own for the en- 
lightenment of his guest, who, it must be said, appeared 
not quite as much interested in it all as he might have 

All the people on the place, Julius said, had been over 
to the court-house already to see the soldiers, but most of 
them had come back. He had been there himself one day, 
but had returned the same evening, as he would not lea\e 
the place unguarded at night. 

" The most faitbful fellow that ever was on earth ; he 
would die for me ! " asserted the General, in a delighted 
aside to his guest, who received the encomium somewhat 
coldly, and on the first opportunity that he could do so 
unobserved, gave the old butler aiiothcr of those looks 
that appeared like a flash of cold steel. 

Dr. Gary had been down the day before to inquire after 


the General. — " An old and valued friend of mine, the 
greatest surgeon in the State — ought to have been made 
Surgeon-General of the army," interpolated the General to 
his guest. 

The Doctor had said the ladies were well, and were 
mighty anxious about the General — "Yes, sir, Miss Tho- 
masia was very well, indeed." 

" Miss Gray — a very old — I mean — ah — clear friend of 
mine — sister of Colonel Gray," the General explained to 
his guest. "On my word, I believe her intuitions are in- 
fallible. I never knew her at fault in her estimate of a 
man in my life." 

The Doctor had left word asking if he would not come 
w]) to dinner next day, Julius continued : 

" Bless my soul ! Of course I will — and I'll take you 
too. Captain ; they will be delighted to see you — Most 
charming people in the world ! " 

So the General annotated old Julius's bulletin, gilding 
everyone and everything with the gold of his own ingenu- 
ous heart. 

The — ah — soldiers had left an order for him as soon as 
he came, to come to the court-house to swear to some- 
thing, said Julius, doubtfully. 

" I'll see the soldiers d condemned first ! " bristled 

the General. " I shall go to pay my resjDects to the ladies 
at Red Rock and Birdwood to-morrow — the two most 
beautiful places in all the country, sir." This to Captain 
McRaiile, who received even this stirring information with- 
out undue warmth ; but when their backs were turned, in- 
spected again both the General and old Julius. 

Nex^. morning the General invited his guest to accom- 
pany him, but Captain McRaffle was not feeling well, he 
said, and he thought if the General would leave him, 
he would remain quiet. Or, perhaps, if he felt better, he 
might ride over to the county seat and reconnoitre a little. 
He always Uked to know the strength of the force before 


^' A most excellent rule," the General declared, with ad- 

So the General, having given the Captain one of the two 
very limp shirts which "the though tfulness of a dear friend, 
Mrs. Gary, of Birdwood," had provided for him, arrayed 
himself in the other and set out to pay his respects to his 
friends in the upper end of the count}'-, leaving his guest 
stretched out on a lounge. 

He had not been gone long when the Captain ordered 
his horse and rode off in the direction of the court-house. 

On arriving at the county seat the new-comer rode 
straight to the tavern, and dismounting, gave his horse to 
a servant and walked in. As he entered he gave one of 
those swift, keen glances, and then asked for Mrs. Witclier, 
the landlady. When she arrived, a languid, delicate-look- 
ing woman, the Captain was all graciousness, and, in a 
few moments, Mrs. Witcher was equally complacent. In 
fact, the new-comer had decided on the first glance that 
tliis was good enough for him, at least, till he could do 
better. The Captain told Mrs. Witcher that he had not 
had a really square meal in two months, and liad not ^lajti 
in a bed in six months. 

"A floor, madam, or a table, so it is long enough, is 
all I desire. Upon my word and honor I don't think I 
could sleep in a bed." 

But Mrs. Witcher insisted thiit he should try, and so 
the Captain condescended to make the experiment, after 
giving lier a somewhat detailed account of his extensive 
family connection, and of an even larger circle of friends, 
which included the commanding Generals of all the armies 
aBd everybody else of note in the country besides. 

'' Well, this suits me," he said as he walked into the 
room assigned him. *' Jim, who occujoied tliis room last ?" 
he csked the darky — whose name happened to be Paul. 

" Well, I forgits the gent'man's name, he died in dis 

" Did he ? How ? " 


" Jes' so, snli. He died right iu dat bed, 'cans I help* 
to lay him out." 

" Well, maybe I'll die in it myself. See that the sheets 
are clean," said Captain McEaffle, composedly. " What 
are you standing there gaping at ? Do you suppose I 
mind a man's dying? I've killed a hundred men." 

" Suh ! " 

"Yes, two hundred — and slejit in a coflBn myself to 
boot." And the Captain turned on the negro so dark and 
saturnine a face that " Jim " withdrew in a hurry, and 
ten minutes later was informing the other negroes that 
there was a man in the house that had been dead and 
" done riz agin." 

And this was the equipment with which Captain McRaf- 
fle began life as a resident of Brntnsville. 



The meeting at BirdwooJ was a notable occasion. It 
was, in a way, tlie outward and visible sign of the return 
of peace. Someone said it looked like the old St. Ann 
congregation risen from tlie dead, to which Miss Thomasia 
added, that the gentlemen, at least, were now all immortal, 
and the' General, with his liand on his heart, gallantly re- 
sponded that the ladies had always been so. The speech, 
however, left some faces grave, for there were a number 
of vacant places that could not be forgotten. 

Jacquelin, under the excitement of his arrival, felt him- 
self sufficiently restored and sfciuiulated to join his mother 
and Aunt Thomasia, and be driven over to Birdwootl, 
and though he suffered a good deal from the condition of 
the roads, yet when Blair ran forward and offered her 
shoulder for " his other crutch," he felt as though a bad 
wound might after all have some compensations. 

Steve Allen was tlie life of tlie company. He luul rid- 
den over on his black horse, " Ilot-Spur," that, like liimself , 
had been wounded several times in the last campaigns, 
though never seriously. He sjient his time teasiug Blaii-. 
He declared tliat Jacquelin was holding on to his crutcb 
only to excite sympathy, and that his own greatest cause 
for hatred of the Yankees now was either that they had 
not shot him instead of Jack, or had not killed Jack, and 
he offered to go out and let anyone shoot hiui immediately 
for one single pitying glance like those he said Blair was 
lavishing on Jack. 

Jacquelin, witli a vivid mciuory of the morning before, 



had meant to kiss Blair on his arrival, yet when they met 
he was seized with a sudden panic, and could hardly look 
into her eyes. She appeared to have grown taller and 
older since yesterday, as well as prettier, and when Steve, 
on arriving, insolently caught and kissed her before them 
all, on the plea of cousinship, Jacquelin was conscious of 
a pang of consuming jealousy, and for the first time in 
his life would gladly have thrashed Steve. 

There was one thing that marred the occasion somewhat, 
or might have done so under other circumstances. The 
entire negro population, who could travel, moved by some 
idea that the arrival of the Federal soldiers concerned 
them, were flocking to the county seat, leaving the fields 
deserted and the cabins empty. 

The visitors had found the roads lined with them as they 
came along. They were all civil, but N7hat could it mean ? 
Some of the young men, like Steve and Jacquelin, were 
much stirred up about it, and talked of organizing quietly 
so as to be ready if the need should arise. Dr. Gary, how- 
ever, and the older ones, opposed anything of the kind. 
Any organization whatever would be viewed with great sus- 
picion by the authorities, and might be regarded as a breach 
of their parole, and was not needed. They were already 
organized simply by being what they were. And, indeed, 
though gaunt and weather-beaten, in their old worn uni- 
forms they were a martial-looking set. There was not a man 
there who had not looked Death in the eyes many a time, 
and the stare had left something notable in every face. 

It was a lovely day, and the early flowers were peeping 
out as if to be sure before they came too far that winter 
had gone for good. The soft haze of Spring was over the 

Tlie one person who was wanting, to make the company 
complete, was the little General. They were just discuss- 
ing him, and were wondering if he had gone to Mexico ; 
and Steve, seated at Miss Thomasia's side, was teasing 
her about him, declaring that, in his opinion, it was a 


pretty widow, whose husband had been in the General's 
brigade and liad been shot, that the General had gone 
South after ; when a horseman was seen riding rapidly 
across the open field far below, taking the ditches as he 
came to them. When he drew nearer lie was recognized 
to be none other than the gallant little General himself. 
As he came trotting across the lawn, among the great trees, 
he presented a martial figure, and handkerchiefs were 
waved to him, and many clieers were given, so that he was 
quite overcome when he dismounted in the midst of a 
number of his old soldiers, and found himself literally 
taken in the arms of both the men and the ladies. 

The General beamed, as he gazed around with a look 
that showed that he thought life might still be worth liv- 
ing if only he could meet occasionally such a reception as 
had just been given him. Others smiled too ; for it was 
known that the General had been an almost life-long lov- 
er and suitor of Miss Thomasia Gray, Avhose twenty years' 
failure to smile on him had in no way damj)ed his ardor 
or dimmed his hope. In fact, the old soldier, in his faded 
gray, with his bronzed, worn, highbred face, was nearer 
achieving the object of his life at that moment than he 
had ever been in the whole twenty years of his pursuit. 
Had the occasion come fifteen or even ten years ear- 
lier, he might have done so ; but Miss Thomasia had 
reached the point when to marry appeared to her ridicu- 
lous, and the only successful rival of the shaft of Cupid 
is the shaft of Eidicule. 

At such a meeting as this there were necessarily many 
serious things to be considered. One was the question of 
bread ; another of existence. None could look around 
on the wide, deserted fields and fail to take in this. Every- 
thing like civil government had disappeared. There was 
not a civil officer left in the State. From Governor to 
justices of the peace, every office had been vacated. The 
Birdwood. meeting was the first in the county at which 
was had any discussion of a plan for the preservation of 


order. Even this was informul and nnpremeditated ; bnt 
when it reached the ears of Colonel Krafton, the new com- 
mander of that district, who had just arrived, it had taken 
on qnite another complexion, and the " Gary Conference/' 
as it came to be called, was productive of some very far- 
reaching consequences to certain of those who partici- 
pated in it, and to the county itself. 

As to some matters broached at Birdwood that day, 
there v>^as wide diversity of opinion among those present. 

Dr. Gary was in favor of accepting the issues as settled 
by the war ; of making friends with the high authorities — 
as had already been done by some in other parts of the 
State, and of other States. 

" Never ! never ! " declared General Legale, with whom 
were most of the others. " They have done their worst ; 
they have invaded us, and taken our negroes from us. 
Let them bear the responsibilities they have assumed." 

It was easy to see, from the enthusiasm v/hich greeted 
the General, on which side the sympathy lay. 

"The worst! General Legale?" exclaimed Dr. Gary. 
*' The worst will be coming for years. 'After the sword 
comes the cankerworm.-' Mark my words : the first terms 
offered are always the best. I should not be surprised 
if you were to live to see negroes invested with the elec- 
tive franchise." 

" Impossible I Preposterous ! Incredible ! " declared 
general Legale, his words being echoed by most of those 

*'It seems almost impossible and quite incredible, yet 
to an old man many things appear possible that are in- 
credible," said Dr. Gary. 

" We will die before such an infamy should be perpe- 
trated ! " protested General Legale, with spirit. 

" The only trouble is, that dying would do no good ; 
only those who know how to live can now save the Coun- 
try," said the Doctor, gr;ively. 

The old Whig looked so earnest — so imposing, as he 


stood, tall aud white, liis eyes flashing under their beetling 
brows, that though, perhaps, few agreed with him, all 
Avere impressed, and by a common and tacit consent tlieir 
position was not pressed, at least for the present. The 
little General even agreed to accompany Dr. Gary at some 
near date, to give his views, along with Dr. Gary^ to the 
new Gommander of the district, Golonel Kraf ton, in order, 
the General stated, that the Gommander miglit understand 
precisely the attitude of all persons in tlieir county. 

Steve Allen, and the other young soldiers who were 
there, found themselves sufficiently entertained, fighting 
over their battles, as though they had been the commanding 
generals, and laying oif nev\^ campaigns in a fresh and dif- 
ferent field ; meantime, getting their hands in, adoring 
and teasing their young hostess, v/ho was related to, or con- 
nected with, most of them. They had left Blair Gary, a 
dimple-faced, tangle-haired romp of thirteen or fourteen, 
with saucy eyes, which even then, as they danced behind 
their dark lashes, promised the best substitute for beauty. 
They now found her sprung up to a slender young lady of 
"quite seventeen," whose demureness and new-born dig- 
nity were the more bewitching, because they were belied by 
her laughing glances. Mars has ever been the captive of 
Venus as well as her conqueror, and more than Steve Al- 
len and Jacquelin Gray fell victims at the first fire from 
those ''^ deadly batteries," as Steve afterv/ard characterized 
Blair Gary's eyes, in his first poem to Belinda — published 
in the Brutusville Guardian. But they all declared 
they saw at once that they stood no chance with Jack 
Gray, whose face wore *' that sickly look," as Steve called 
it, which, he said, " every woman thought interesting and 
none could resist. " Over all of which nonsense. Miss 
Blair's tlark eyes twinkled with the pleasure of a girl who 
is too young to comprehend it quite fully, but yet finds it 
wonderfully delightful. As for Jacquelin, to him she was 
no longer mortal : he had robed her in radiance and lifted 
her among the stars. 


The older people found not less pleasure in the reunion 
than their Juniors, and appeared to have grown young again. 
And while the youngsters were out on the grass at Miss 
Blair's feet, in more senses than one, the General and Dr. 
Gary and the other seniors were on the vine-covered portico, 
discussing grave questions of state-craft, showing precisely 
how and when the Confederacy might have been saved and 
made the greatest power on earth — together with other 
serious matters. The General teased himself as of old 
about Miss Thomasia, and the Doctor teased them both. 
The General had been noted formerly as a great precision- 
ist in matters of dress, as well as in all other matters, and 
now, when he stalked about the veranda, with his old 
uniform-coat buttoned to the chin as jauntily as ever, and 
with a limp bit of white showing above the collar and at 
the wrists, in which he evidently took much pride, the 
Doctor, who knew where the shirt came from, and that, 
like the one which he himself had on, it was made 
from an under-garment of one of the ladies, could not 
help rallying him a little. The Doctor wisely took ad- 
vantage of Mrs. Gary's absence from the room to do this, 
but had got no fartlier than to congratulate the General 
on the luxury of fresh linen and to receive from him the 
gallant assurance that he had felt on putting it on that 
morning, as a knight of old might have felt when he 
donned his armor prepared by virgin hands, when Mrs. 
Gary entered and, recognizing instantly from her husband's 
look of suspicious innocence and Miss Thomasia's expres- 
sion, that some mischief was going on, pounced on him 
promptly and bore him off. When he returned from the 
"judgment chamber," as he called it, he was under a 
solemn pledge not to open the subject again to the Gen- 
eral, which he observed to the best of his ability, though 
he kept Miss Thomasia on thorns, by coming as near to it as 
he dared with a due re^-ard to himself in view of his wife's 

In fact, these men were thoroughly enjoying homo life 


after the long interval of hardship and deprivation, and 
neither the sorrow of the past nor the gloom of the pres- 
ent could wholly depress them. The future, fortunately, 
they could not know. Then, among young people there 
must he joy, if there be not death ; and fun is as natural as 
grass or flowers in spring or any other outbudding of a new 
and bounding life. 

So, even amid the rains, the flowers bloomed and there 
were fun and gayety. Hope was easily worth all the other 
spirits in Pandora's box put together. 

Before the company separated they began to talk even 
of a party, and, to meet the objections of old Mr. Lang- 
staff and some others, it was agreed that it should be a 
contribution-entertainment and that the proceeds should 
go to the wounded soldiers and soldiers' widows, of the 
county. This Steve declared was a deep-laid scheme on 
the part of Jacquelin Gray. It was already decided on 
when the Doctor returned to the sitting-room, after Mrs. 
Gary had summoned him thence, and the question under 
advisement was whether the Yankee officers at the court- 
house should be invited. Steve Allen had started it. 
The ladies were a unit. 

" No, indeed ; not one of them should set his foot inside 
the door ; not a girl would dance with one of them." On 
this point Miss Blair was very emphatic, and her laughing 
eyes lost their gleam of sunlight and flashed forth a sud- 
den spark which showed deeper depths behind those dark 
lashes than had appeared at any time before. 

'•'FU bet you do," said Steve. He stretched out his 
long legs, settled himself, and looked at Blair with that 
patronizing air whicii always exasperated her. 

" I'll bet I don't ! " — with her head up, and her color 
deepening a little at the bravado of using such a word. 

''I'll bet my horse you'll break a set with Jack for 
the Yankee captain," declared Steve. 

" Don't want your old horse, he's too full of lead," said 


" Then I'll bet you liis horse." 

" It's a good one," said Jacquelin from his phice on the 
lounge. " Blood-bay, with three white feet and a blaze on 
his nose." 

" He's mine," asserted Steve with a nod of his head. 

"How will you get it ?" asked Blair. 

" Steve knows several ways of getting horses," laughed 
one of the other young men. 

"Shut up, you fool," telegraphed Steve with liis lips, 
glancing quickly at Miss Tlioinasia, who was beaming on 
him with kindly eyes. 

It is surprising what little things have influence. That 
sudden flash, with the firmer lines which came for a sec- 
ond in the young girl's face, did more to bind the young 
men to her footstool than all the fun and gayety slie had 

The men were not so unanimous on the point touching 
the exclusion of the officers. Most of them agreed with 
the ladies, but one or two were inclined to the other side. 

" Men like to fancy themselves broader and more judi- 
cial than women," said Miss Thomasia, placidly. 

Jacquelin mentioned casually that Middleton was not 
only quite a gentlemanly fellov/, but a strikingly handsome 

"A Yankee soldier good-looking! I'll not believe 
that ! " declared Miss Blair, promptly. 

This debate created a diversion in their favor, and it 
was suggested and agreed to, as a compromise, that they 
should "wait until after a St. Ann Sunday, and see what 
the officers looked like. No doubt some of them would 
come to church, and then they could determine Avhat they 
would do." 

This idea was feminine, and, to offset it, it was re-de- 
clared that at present they were "unanimously opposed 
to regarding them in any other light than that of bitter 



So Peace spread her white wings, extending her serenity 
and shedding her sweetness even in those regions Avhere 
war had passed along. 

Without wasting time or repining ahoiit the past, Dr. 
Gary and General Legaie and the other men began to pick 
up such of the tangled and broken threads of the old life 
as could be found, and to form with them the new. They 
mended the worn vehicles, patched up the old harness and 
gear, broke their war-horses to drive, and set in to live 
bravely and cheerfully, in as nearly the old manner as they 
could. They had, they believed, made the greatest fight 
on record. They had not only maintained, but had in- 
creased, the renown of their race for military achievement 
— the reputation which they most highly valued. They 
had been overwhelmed, not whipped ; cast down, but not 
destroyed. They still had the old spirit, the unconquer- 
able spirit of their race, and, above all, they had the South. 

Dr. Gary determined to use every effort to restore at 
once the old state of affairs, and, to this end, to offer 
homes and employment to all his old servants. 

Accordingly, he rode down to the county seat one day 
to have an interview with the officers there. He went 
alone, because he did not know precisely how he would be 
received, and, besides, there was by no means general ap- 
proval of his course among his friends. 

He found that the ranking officer, Gaptain Middleton, 
had been summoned that morning to the city by Golonel 



Kraf ton, the provost in command there. The next in com- 
mand, however, Lieutenant Thurston, was very civil and 
obliging to the Doctor, and, on learning of his plans, took 
steps to further them. 

The officer summoned all the negroes who were hanging 
around the village, to assemble on the court-green, told 
them of the Doctor's offer, and, after a short talk to them, 
ordered all the Doctor's old servants who were present, and 
had not secured employment elsewhere, to return home 
and go to work on the wages he had agreed the Doctor 
should pay. For, as he said to Middleton when he re- 
turned : 

" By Gad I Larry, I was not sure whether I was talking 
to Don Quixote or old Dr. Filgrave — I know he is cousin 
to them both, for he told me so — he is a cousin to everybody 
in the United States. And, besides, I was so bored with 
those niggers hanging around, looking pitiful, and that 
tall, whispering fellow. Still, who tells about the way he 
had to act during the war to keep the people from knowing 
he was on our side, that I would have ordered every nigger 
in the country to go with the old gentleman if he had 
wanted them. By the way, he is the father of the girl 
they say is so devilishly pretty, and he asked after you 
most particularly. Ah ! Larry, I am a diplomat. I have 
missed my calling." And, as he looked at his tall, good- 
looking superior, the little Lieutenant's eyes twinkled 
above the bowl of his pipe, which was much the shape of 

The engagement to furnish his negroes rations Dr. 
Gary was enabled to make, because on his arrival at the 
county seat he had fallen in with Hiram Still, who had of- 
fered to lend him a sum of money, which he said he hap- 
pened to have by him. Hiram had been down to take the 
oath of allegiance, he told the Doctor. 

" I been wonderin' to myself what I was to do with that 
money — and what I turned all them Confed. notes into 
gold and greenbacks for," he said. '^ Fact is, I thought 


myself a plum fool for doiii' it ; but I say:;, ' Well, gold's 
gold, whichever way it goes.' So I either bought land or 
gold. But 't does look 's if Providence had somethin' to do 
with it, sure 'nongh. I ain't got a bit o' use for it — you 
can take it and pay me just when it's convenient." 

Still had never been a favorite Avitli Dr. Gary, though 
the latter confessed that he could cite no positive ground 
for his dislike. When he thought of his antipathy at all, 
he always traced it back to two things — one that Legale 
always disliked Still, the other that when Still had his 
attack of inflammatory rheumatism at the outbreak of 
the war, the symptoms were such as to baffle the Doctor's 
science. " That's a pretty ground for a reasonable man to 
found an antipathy on," reflected the Doctor. 

As the Doctor and Hiram rode back together toward 
home, Still was so bitter in his denunciation of the Fed- 
erals and of their action touching the negroes, that the 
Doctor actually felt it his duty to lecture him. They were 
all one country now, he said, and they should accept the 
result as determined. But Still said, "Never !" He had 
only taken the oath of allegiance, he declared, because he 
had heard he would be arrested unless he did. But he 
had taken it with a mental reservation. This shocked 
the Doctor so much that he rebuked him with sternness, 
on v/hich Still explained that he did not mean exactly that, 
but that he had heard that if a man took an oath under 
threats he was absolved from it. 

" There was some such legal quibble," the Doctor ad- 
mitted, with a sniff, but he was " very sure that no brave 
man would ever take an oath for such a reason, and no 
honest one would ever break one." He rode off with his 
head very high. 

When Still reached home that evening he was in nn- 
commonly good spirits. He was pleasanter than usual to 
his daughter, who appeared the plainer because of the con- 
trast that her shabby clothes presented to the showy suit 
which her brother wore. It was to his son, however, that 


Mr. Still showed his particnltir good-humor. Wash had just 
come home for a little visit from the city, where he had 
been ever since his return from the army, and where he 
was now studying medicine. He was a tall, slim fellow, 
very much like his father in aj^pearance, though in place 
of the rather good-tempered expression which usually sat 
on the latter's face, AYash's look was usually sour and dis- 

"Ah, Wash, my son, I did a good stroke of business for 
you to-day," said the father that evening at supper. 

" What was it ? Did you buy another farm ? You'll 
break, buying so much land," replied his son, pleasantly. 

Still put aside the ungraciousness of the reply. He was 
accustomed to his son's slurs. 

" Yes and no." He winked at A'irgy, to whom he had 
already confided something of his stroke of business. He 
glanced at the door to see that no one was listening, and 
dropped his voice to his confidential pitch. "I lent 
the Doctor a leetle money." He nodded with satisfaction. 

Wash became interested ; but the next instant attempt- 
ed to appear indiiferent. 

" How much ? What security did he give ? " 

" More than he'll be able to pay for some time, and the 
security's all right. Aha ! I thought that would wake 
you up. I'll lend him some more one of these days and 
then we'll get the pay — with interest." He winked at his 
son knowingly. " When you're try in' to ketch a shy horse, 
don't show him the bridle ; when you've got him, then — !" 
He made a gesture of slipping on a halter. This jjiece 
of philosophy appeared to satisfy the young man and 
to atone for the apparent unwisdom of his father's ac- 
tion. He got into such a good-humor that he began to 
talk pleasantly with his sister and to ask her about the 
young men in the neighborhood. 

It was striking to see how she changed at the notice her 
brother took of her. The listless look disappeared, and her 
eyes brightened and made her face appear really interesting. 


Presently the young man said : 

" How's Lord Jacqueliu ? " At the unexpected ques- 
tion the blood mounted to the girl's face, and after an 
appealing look she droj)ped her eyes quickly. 

When the end of the month came. Dr. Gary summoned 
his hands and paid them their wages one by one, according 
to his contract with Thurston, checking each name, as he 
paid them, on a pay-roll he had prepared. Their reception 
of the payment varied with the spirit of the men ; some 
being gay and facetious ; others taking it with exaggerated 
gravity. It was the first time they had ever received stip- 
ulated wages for their services, and it was an event. 

The Doctor was well satisfied with the result, and went 
in to make the same settlement with the house-servants. 
Tlie first he met was Mammy Krenda, and he handed her 
the amount he had agreed on with Thurston as a woman's 
wages. The old woman took it quietly. This was a 
relief. Mrs. Gary had been opposed to his paying her 
anything ; she had felt sure that the mammy would feel 
offended. " Why, she is a member of the family,^' she 
said. ''We can't pay her wages." The Doctor, how- 
ever, deemed himself bound by his engagement with 
Thurston. He had said he would pay all wages, and he 
would do so. So when the mammy took the money with 
her usual curtse}^, in one way the Doctor's spirits rose, 
though he was conscious of a little tug at his heart, as if 
the old ties had somehow been loosened. He rallied, how- 
ever, at the reflection that he could satisfy his wife, at last, 
that he knew human nature more profoundly than she 
did — a doctrine he had secretly cherished, but had never 
been entirely successful in establishing. 

In this satisfactory state of mind, not wishing to sever 
entirely the tie with the mammy, as the old woman still 
stood waiting, he, after a moment, said kindly and with 
great dignity : 

" Those are your wages, mammy." 


" My what, sir ? " The Doctor was conscious of a cer- 
tain chilling of the atmosphere. He looked out of the 
window to avoid her gaze. 

"Your wages — I — ah — have determined — I — think it 
better from this time to — ah — ." He had no idea it was 
so difficult. Why had he not got Mrs. Cary to attend to 
this — why had he, indeed, not taken her advice ? Pshaw ! — 
He had to face the facts ; so he would do it. He sum- 
moned courage and turned and looked at the old woman. 
She was in the act of putting the money carefully on the 
corner of the table by her, and if the Doctor had difficulty 
in meeting her gaze, she had none in looking at him. 
Her eyes were fastened on him like two little shining 
beads. They stuck him like pins. The Doctor felt as he 
used to feel when a young man he went to pay his ad- 
dresses to his wife — he was conscious that whenever he 
met Krenda she was inspecting him, searching his inmost 
soul — looking through and through him. He had to as- 
sert himself. 

" You see, I promised the Federal officer at the court- 
house to pay everyone wages," he began with an effort, 
looking at the old woman. 

" How much does you pay Miss Bessie 9 " 

" How much what ? " 

" Wages." He had no idea one word could convey so 
much contempt. 

"Why, nothing — of course " 

Old Krenda lifted her head. 

" Tm gwine 'way." 

" What ! " 

"Fm feared you'll charge me bode!" She had ex- 
panded. " I ken git a little house somewheres, I reckon 
— or I ken go to th' city and nuss — chillun." 

" Mammy — you don't understand — " The Doctor was 
never in such a dilemma. If his wife would only come 
in ! What a fool he was, not to have known that his wife 
knew more about it than he did. 


"■ Won't 3'on accei^t the money as a gift from me ?" he 
said at last, desperately. 

"Nor — I ain.^ gwine ife/c-A it !" The gesture was even 
more final than the tone. With a sniif, she turned and 
walked out, leaving the Doctor feeling like a school-boy. 

He rose after a few minutes and went to his wife's room 
to get her to make his peace. The door was shut, but he 
opened it. The scene within was one that remained with 
him through life. His wife was weeping, and the mammy 
and Blair were in each other's arms. The only words he 
heard were from the mammy. 

" Ef jest my ole marster could come back. He'd know 
I didn' do it for no wages." 

" Oh ! mammy, he knows it too ! " 

The Doctor was never conscious of being so much alone 
in his life, and it took some time to make liis j^eace. 

In the same way that the old planters and landowners 
set in to restore the old places, the younger men also went 
to work. Necessity is a good spur and pride is another. 

Stamper, with Delia Dove "for overseer," as he said, 
was already beginning to make an impression on his little 
place. As he had " kept her from having an overseer," he 
said, the best thing he could do was to "let her be one." 

"Talk about th' slaves bein' free, Mr. Jack ! they won't 
all be free long's Delia Dove's got me on her place." The 
little Sergeant's chuckle showed how truly he enjoyed that 
servitude. " She owns me, but she treats me well," he 

The Stamper place, amid its locusts and apple-trees, with 
its hipped roof and dormer-windows, small as it was, was 
as old as Eed Rock — at least as the new mansion, with its 
imposing porticoes and extended wings, built around the 
big fireplace of the old house — and little Andy, though be- 
ing somewhat taciturn he never said anything about it, 
was as proud of this fact as he was of being himself rather 
than Hiram Still. He had got an old army wagon from 
somewhere and was now beginning his farming opera- 


tions in earnest. It had had " U. S." on it, but though 
Andy insisted that the letters stood for " U8," not for the 
United States, Delia Dove had declined to ride in the vehicle 
as long as it had such characters stamped on it. As Mrs. 
Stamper was obdurate, Andy finally was forced to save her 
sensibilities, which he did by substituting "D " for "U." 
This, he said, would stand either for " Delia Stamper," or 
"D— d States." 

Jacquelin Gray was almost the only one of the men who 
was not able to go to work. His wound showed a tendency 
to break out afresh. 

Steve Allen intended to practise law as soon as matters 
settled themselves. As 5'et, however, he could not engage 
in any profession. He had not yet determined to take the 
oath of allegiance. Meantime, to the great happiness of 
his cousins, especially of Miss Thomasia, he deferred go- 
ing to the county seat and, moved by the grassy appear- 
ance of the once beautifully cultivated fields of Eed Kock, 
began farming. Perhaps, it was sheer pride and dislike of 
meeting Middleton at the court-house under circumstances 
so different from those under which they had met last ; 
perhaps it was the pleasure of being near Birdwood that 
kept him. It was very pleasant when his day's work was 
done, to don his old gray jacket, play gentleman once 
more, and ride across the river of an evening ; lounge on 
the grass under the big trees at Birdwood, and tease Blair 
Gary about Jacquelin, until her eyes flashed, and she let out 
at him, as he used to say, " like a newly bridled filly." 
So he hitched his war-horses. Hotspur and Kate, to ploughs 
and ploughed day by day, while he made his boy, Jerry, 
plough furrow for furrow near him, under promise of half 
of his share of their crop if he kept up, and of the worst 
"' lambing " he had ever had in his life if he did not. Jerry 
was a long, slim, young negro, as black as tar. He was the 
grandson of old Peggy, Steve's mammy, and had come 
from tlie far South. Where Steve had got him during the 
war no one knev/ except Steve and Jerry themselves. 


Steve said he found him hanging to a tree and cut him 
down because he wanted the rope ; but that if he had 
known Jerry as well then as he did afterward, he would 
have left him hanging. At this explanation, Jerry always 
grinned, exhibiting two rows of white teeth which looked 
like corn from a full ear. Jerry was a drunkard, a liar, 
and a thief. But one thing was certain : he adored Steve, 
who in return for that virtue bore delinquencies which no 
one else in the world would have tolerated, Jerry had one 
other trait which recommended him to his master : he was 
as brave as a lion ; he would not have been afraid of the devil 
himself unless he had taken on the shape of Mr. Steven- 
son Allen, of whom alone Jerry stood in wholesome awe. 

Steve's bucolic operations came somewhat suddenly to an 
end. One evening, after a hard day's work, he met Wash 
Still dressed up and driving a new buggy, turning in at 
Dr. Gary's gate. He was " going to consult Dr. Gary about 
a case," he said. Next day, as Steve was working in the 
field, he saw Wash driving down the hill from the man- 
ager's house with the same well-appointed rig. Steve 
stopped in the row and looked at him as he drove past. 
Just then Jerry came up. His eye followed his masters, 
and his face took on an expression of scorn. 

"XJmph! things is tunned sort o' upside down," he 
grunted. " Overseer's son drivin' buggy, and gent'mens in 
de fiel'." Steve smiled at Jerry's use of the plural. The 
next moment Hiram Still rode down the hill, and turn- 
ins: his horse in Steve's direction came across the field. 

" He sutney don' like you, Gun'l," said Jerry, " an' he 
don' like the Cap'n neider ;" by which last, he designated 
Jacquelin. Jerry always gave military titles to those he 
liked — the highest to Steve, of course. " He say it do him 
good to see you wuckin' in the fiel' like a nigger, and some 
day he hope to set in de gret-house and see you doin' it." 

Still passed quite close to Gaptain Allen, and as he did 
so, reined in his horse, and sat looking down at Steve, 
as he came to the end of his roAv. 


*' We all have to come to it, at last, Captain," lie said. 

AVhetlier it was his words, and the look on his face, or 
whether Steve had intended anyhow to do what he did, he 
straightened up, and shot a glance at the Manager. 

" You think so ? Well, you are mistaken." He raised 
his hoe and stuck it in the ground up to the eye. 

" There," he said to Still, in a tone of command, " take 
that home. That^s the last time I'll ever touch a hoe as 
long as I live. I've brains enough to make my living by 
them, and if I haven't, I mean to starve ! " He walked j^ast 
the overseer with his head so straight, that Still began to 
explain that he had meant no offence. But Steve took no 
further notice of him. 

" Jerry, you can keep on ; I'll see that you get your part 
of the crop." 

"Nor — I ain't gwine. to hit anur lick, nurr — I'll starve 
wid yer." And Jerry lifted his hoe and drove it into the 
ground ; looked at Still superciliously, and followed his 
master with as near an imitation of his manner and gait as 
he could achieve. 

It was only when Steve was out of hearing, that Still's 
look changed. He clenched his fist, and shook it after 
the young man. 

'' I'll bring you to it yet," he growled. 

That evening Steve announced his intention of begin 
ning immediately the practice of his j)rofession. 



The young officers at the court-house meantime had fared 
very well. It is true that most of the residents treated 
them coldly, if civilly, and that the girls of the place, of 
whom there were quite a number, turned aside whenever 
they met them, and passed by with their heads held high, 
and their eyes straight to the front, flashing daggers. But 
this the young men were from exj)erience more or less 
used to. 

Reely Thurston told Middleton that if he would leave 
matters to him, he would engineer him through the cam- 
paign, and before it was over would be warbling ditties with 
all the pretty girls in a way to make his cousin. Miss Euth 
Welch, green with envy. The lieutenant began by parad- 
ing up and down on his very fine horse ; but the only result 
he attained was to hear a plump young girl ask another in 
a clear voice, evidently meant for him to hear, "'What 
poor Southerner," she supposed, "that little Yankee stole 
that horse from ! " He recognized the speaker as the 
young lady he had seen looking at them from the door of 
the clerk's office the morning of their arrival. 

Brutusville, the county seat where they were posted, was 
a pretty little straggling country village of old-fashioned 
houses amid groves of fine old trees, lying along the main 
road of the county, Avhere it wound among shady slopes, 
with the blue mountain range in the distance. Most of 
the houses were hip-roofed and gray with age. The river — 
the same stream that divided Eed Rock from Birdwood — 




passed near the village, broadeniug as it reached the more 
level country and received the waters of one or two other 
streams. Before the war there had been talk of estab- 
lishing deep-water connections with the lower country, as 
the last rapids of any extent were not far below Brutusville. 
Dr. Gary, however, had humorously suggested that they 
would find it easier to macadamize the river than to make 
it navigable. 

The county seat had sulrered, like the rest of the county, 
during the war ; but as it happened, the main body of the 
enemy had been kept out of the place by high water, and 
the fine old trees did much to conceal the scars that had 
been made. 

The old, brick court-house in the middle of the green, 
peeping out from among the trees, with its great, classical 
portico, was esteemed by the residents of the village to be, 
jDerhaps, the most imposing structure in the Avorld. Mi-. 
Dockett, the clerk — who had filled this position for nearly 
forty years, witli tlie exception of the brief period when, 
fired by martial enthusiasm, he had gone off with Captain 
Gray^s company — told Lieutenant Thurston a day or two 
after the latter's arrival, that while he had never been to 
Greece or, indeed, out of the State, he had been informed 
by those who had been there that the court-house was, per- 
haps, in some respects, more perfect than any building in 
Athens. Lieutenant Thurston said he had never been to 
Greece either, but he was quite sure it wa-s. He also 
added that he considered Mr. Dockett's own house a very 
beautiful one, and thought that it showed evidences, in its 
embellishments, of that same classical taste that Mr. Dockett 
admired so much. Mr. Dockett, while accepting the com- 
pliment with due modesty, answered that if the lieutenant 
wished to see a beautiful house he should see Eed Eock. 
And thereupon began new matter, the young officer gently 
leading the old gentleman to talk of all the people and af- 
fairs of the neighborhood, including the charms of the 



From this, it will bo seen that the little Lieutenant was 
already laying his mines, and preparing to make good his 
promise to Middleton to engineer him through the cam- 

The compliment to the Dockett mansion was not with- 
out its effect on the genius who presided in that classic and 
comfortable abode, and, at length, Mrs. Dockett, a plump 
and energetic woman, had, with some prevision, though in 
a manner to make her beneficiaries sensible of her conde- 
scension, acceded to tiie young men's request to take them 
as boarders, and allow them to occupy a wing-room in her 

Thus Middleton and Thurston were able to write Ruth 
Welch a glowing account of their " headquarters in an 
old colonial mansion," and of the " beautiful maiden " who 
sang them "songs of the South." 

The songs, liowever, that Miss Dockett sang, though as 
Thurston said truly, they were in one sense sung for 
them, were not sung in the sense Lieutenant Thurston 
implied. They were hardly just the sort that Miss Ruth 
Welch would have approved of, and were certainly not 
what Mrs. Welch would have tolerated. For they were 
all of the most ultra-Southern spirit and tendency, and 
breathed the deadliest defiance to everyone and every- 
thing Northern. Miss Dockett was not pretty, except as 
youth and wholesomeness give beauty ; but she was a 
cheery maiden, with blue eyes, white teeth, rosy cheeks, 
and a profusion of hair, and though she had no training, 
she j)ossessed a pleasant voice and sang naturally and 
agreeably — at least to one Avho, likj Tliurston, had not too 
much ear for music. Thurston once hr.d tlie temerity to 
ask for a song — for which he received a merited rebuff. 
Of course she would not sing for a Yankee, said the young 
lady, with a toss of her head and an increased elevation 
of her little nose, and immediately she left the room. 
When, however, the young officers were in their rooms, 
she sang all the Southern songs she knew. One, in par- 


ticular, she rendered with great spirit. It had jnst been 
written. It began : 

" Oh ! I'm a good old rebel, 
Now, that's just what I am; 
For tliis ' Fair land of freedom,' 
I do not care a-t all. " 

Another verse ran : 

" Three hundred thousand Yankees 
Lays dead in Southern dus', 
We got three hundred thousand 
Before they conquered us ; 
They died of Southern fever. 
Of Southern steel and shot ; 
I wish they were three million, 
Instead of what we got." 

The continued iteration of this sanguinary melody float- 
ing in at the open window finally induced the little Lieu- 
tenant, in his own room one afternoon^ to raise, in op- 
position, his own voice, which was none of the most 
melodious, in the strains of " The Star-Spangled Banner. '^ 
But he had got no further than the second invocation to 
" the land of the free and the home of the brave,^^ when 
there was a rush of footsteps outside, followed by a pound- 
ing on his door, and on his opening the door Mrs. Dock- 
ett bore down on him with so much fire in her eye that 
Reely was quite overwhelmed. And when she gave ]iim 
notice that she would have no Yankee songs sung in her 
house, and that he must either ''quit the house or quit 
howling," little Thurston, partly amused and partly 
daunted, and with the wide difference between Mrs. 
Dockett's fried chicken and beat-biscuit and tlie mess- 
table '' truck " before his eyes, promised to adopt the 
latter course — " generally." 

Fortunately the yonng officers were too much accus- 
tomed to such defiances to feel very serious about them, and 


they went on ingratiating themselves with Miss Dockett — ■ 
Thurston by his fun and good-humor, and Middleton by 
his gentlemanly bearing and his firm management of the 
negroes who hung around the camp. 

Tlie peace and comfort of the young men, however, 
were suddenly much threatened by the arrival of a new 
official, not under their jurisdiction, though under Colonel 
Krafton, who had sent him up, specially charged with all 
matters relating to the negroes. 

He arrived one afternoon with only a carpet-bag ; took 
a room in the hotel, and, as if already familiar with the 
ground, immediately dispatched a note to Mrs. Dockett 
asking quarters in her house. Even had the new-comer 
preferred his applica-tion as a request it might been 
rejected ; but he demanded it quite as a right ; the line 
which he sent up by a negro servant being rather in the 
nature of an order than a petition to Mrs. Dockett to pre- 
pare the best room in her house for his head-quarters. It 
was signed " Jonadab Leech, Provost-Marshal, command- 
ing," etc., etc. But tlie new official did not know Mrs. 
Dockett. The order raised a breeze which came near blow- 
ing the two officers, whom she had accepted and domiciled 
in her house, out of the quarters she had vouchsafed them. 
She sailed down upon them with the letter in her hand ; 
and, as Thurston said, with colors flying and guns ready 
for action. But, fortunately, little Thurston was equal to 
the emergency. He glanced at the paper the enraged lady 
showed him and requested to be allowed possession of it 
for a moment. When he had apparently studied it atten- 
tively, he looked up. 

" I do not know that I quite comprehend. Do I under- 
stand you to insist on taking this man in ? " He was 
never so innocent-looking. Mrs. Dockett gasped : 

"What! ! Ta— ke in the man that wrote that!" She 
visibly expanded. 

" — Because if you do, Captain Middleton and I shall 
have to move our quarters. I happen to know this man 


Ijersonally — slightly — that is, I once had a transaction 
with him as an officer which resulted unpleasantly. His 
functions are entirely diiferent from ours ; he being 
charged with matters relating to the freedmen, their care 
and support ; while ours are military and relate to the 
government of the county and the maintenance of peace. 
(He glanced at Mrs. Dockett, who was sniffing ominously.) 
While we shall uphold him in all proper exercise of his 
power, and recognize his authority as an officer within the 
scope of his own jurisdiction, I must say that for personal 
reasons his presence would be distasteful to me, and I 
think I can speak for Captain Middleton (here he looked 
over at his friend inquiringly), and if you contemplate 
taking him in, I should prefer to remove my own quarters 
back to camp." 

The little Lieutenant had gathered dignity as he pro- 
ceeded, and he delivered the close of his oration with 
quite the manner of an orator. He had spoken so rapidly 
that Mrs. Dockett had not had a moment to get in a 
word. He closed with a most impressive bow, while Mid- 
dleton gazed at him with mingled amusement and ad- 

Mrs. Dockett discovered the wind taken completely out 
of her sails, and found herself actually forced into the 
position of making a tack and having rather to offer an 
ajDology to the ruffled little officer. 

She had never dreamed of preferring this new-comer 
to them, she declared. She could not but say that they 
had always acted in a most gentlemanly way, so far as she 
was concerned. She had, indeed, been most agreeably sur- 
prised. She had never, for a moment, dreamed of permit- 
ting this impudent upstart, whoever he was, to come in- 
to her house. Let him go to some of his colored friends. 
Of course, if they wished to leave her house — they must 
do so. Her head was rising again. Thurston hastened to 

Not at all — they were most charmed, etc. Only he 


didn't know but she might not care to have them remain 
— and they could not do so if this man came. 

"He's not coming. Let him try it." And the irate 
lady sailed out to deliver her broadside to the new enemy 
that had borne down on her. 

She had no sooner disappeared than the Lieutenant's 
face fell. 

" Gad ! Larry, we are undone. It's that Leech who used 
to live with old Bolter, and about whom they told the 
story of his trying to persuade his wife to let him get a 
divorce, and who shirked all through the war. Unless we 
can get rid of him it's all up. We're ruined." 

" Freeze him out," Middleton said, briefly. " You've 
begun well." 

''Freeze ? Freeze a snow-bank! That's his cli- 
mate. He'd freeze in • ! " The little Lieutenant 

named a very hot place. 

Thurston had not been too soon in j)lacing the line of 
discrimination clearly between themselves and the Provost 
Marshal, for the arrival of the latter in the county at once 
caused a change of conditions. 

On receipt of Mrs. Dockett's decisive and stinging reply 
Leech immediately made application to Captain Middleton 
to enforce his requisition, but, to his indignation, he was 
informed that they were the only boarders, and that Mrs. 
Dockett managed her own domestic affairs : which, indeed, 
was no more than the truth. To revenge himself, the Pro- 
vost took possession of Mr. Dockett's office, and opened 
his bureau in it, crowding the old official into a back room 
of the building. Here, too, however, he was doomed to dis- 
appointment and mortification ; for, on the old clerk's rep- 
resentation of the danger to his records, and of their value, 
enforced by Mrs. Dockett's persuasive arguments. Leech 
was required by Middleton to surrender possession and 
take up his quarters in an unoccupied building on the other 
side of the road. Here he opened his office under a flaring 
sign bearing the words, " FREEDMEN'S BUREAU." 


So the Provost, being baffled here, had to content him- 
self, as he might, at the court-house tavern, where he soon 
laid off a new campaign. His principal trouble there, lay 
in the presence of the dark, sallow Captain McRaffle, 
Avhose saturnine face sco\vled at him from the upper end 
of the table, and kept him in a state of constant irritation. 
The only speech the Captain ever addressed to him was to 
ask if he played cards, and on his saying he '*^ never played 
games," he a23peared to take no further interest in him. 
The Provost, however, kept his eye on him. 

The effect of the Provost's appearance was felt immedi- 
ately. The news of his arrival seemed to have spread 
in a night, and the next day the roads were filled with 

'•' De wud had come for 'em," they said. They " had to 
go to de Cap'n to git de papers out o' de buro."" Only 
the old house-servants were left, and even they were some- 
what excited. 

This time those who left their homes did not return so 
quickly. Immediately after the nevv's of the surrender 
came, a good many of the negroes had gone off and estab- 
lished settlements to themselves. The chief settlement in 
the Red Rock neighborhood was kn.own as " The Bend," 
from the fact that it was in a section half surrounded by 
a curve of the river. It was accessible from both sides of 
the river, and in the past had been much associated with 
runaway negroes. 

It had always been an nnsavory spot in the county, and 
now, the negroes congregating there, it had come into 
greater ill repute than ever. It was dubbed with some de- 
rision, "Africa." Here Jim Sherwood and Moses had 
built cabins, and shortly many others gathered about them. 
This, however, might not have amounted to much had not 
another matter come to light. 

The Provost was summoning the negroes and enrolling 
them by hundreds, exciting them with stories of what the 
Government proposed to do for them, and telling tliem 


tlie most pernicious lies : that they need not work, and 
that the Government was going to feed them and give 
them all " forty acres and a mule apiece." 

Even the older negroes were somewhat excited by these 
tales, and, finally, Mammy Krenda asked Dr. Gary if it 
was true that the Government was going to give them all 

" Of course not. Who says so ? " asked the Doctor. 

" I heah so,'' said the old woman. • Even she was be- 
ginning to be afraid to tell v/hat she had heard. 

Contemporaneously with this, an unprecedented amount 
of lawlessness suddenly appeared : chicken-houses were 
robbed ; sheep and pigs and even cattle were stolen, with- 
out there being any authority to take cognizance of the 
thefts or any power to punish. 

Andy Stamper and several others of the neighbors came 
over to see Dr. Gary about the matter. They had been 
to the court-house the day before "to see about things," 
Andy said, and "had found every nigger in the county 
piled up in front of that Leech's door." 

" They're talkin' about every one of 'em gittin' forty 
acres and a mule, Doctor," said little Andy, with a 
twinkle in his eye ; but a grim look about his mouth. 
" The biggest men down thar are that Jim Sherwood of 
yours ; that trick-doctor nigger of Miss' Gray's, Moses 
Swift, and a tall, black nigger of General Legaie's, named 
Nicholas Ash. They're doin' most of the talkin'. Well, 
I aint got but eighty acres — jest about enough for two 
of 'em," added Andy, the grim lines deepening about 
his mouth ; "but I'm mighty sorry for them two as tries 
to git 'era — I told Hiram so." The twinkle had disap- 
peared from his blue eyes, like the flash on a ripple, and 
the eyes were as quiet and gray as the water after the 
ripple had passed. 

"Hiram, he's the chief adviser and friend of the new 
man. I thought he was hatchin' something. He was 
down there inside of the office — looked like a shot cat 


when I come in — said he was tryin' to git some hands. 
You watch him. He's a goin' over. He was at the nig- 
ger meetin'-house th' other night. I heard some white 
man was there ; but I couldn't git at who 'twas till old 
Weev'ly let it out." 

Dr. Gary told of his conversation with Still a few days 
before ; but the little Sergeant was not convinced. 

" Whenever he talks, that's the time yoa know he ain't 
goin' to do it," he said. 

Still's attentions to Miss Delia Dove had not only quick- 
ened Andy's jealousy, but had sharpened his suspicion 
generally, and he had followed his movements closely. 

Still had quickly become assured that the two young 
soldiers in command at the county seat were not the kind 
for him to impress. And when the new officer came he 
had at once proceeded to inspect him. 

Leech was expecting him ; for though they had never 
met, Still had already secretly placed himself in communi- 
cation with Krafton, the Provost-Marshal in the city. 

The new Provost was not pleasing to look on. He was a 
man spare in jSgure and v\ath a slight stoop in his shoulders 
— consequent perhaps on a habit he had of keeping his gaze 
on the ground. He had mild blue eyes, and a long, sallow 
face, with a thin nose, bad teeth, and a chin that ended 
almost in a point. He rarely showed temper. He posed 
rather as a good-natured, -easy-going fellow, cracking jokes 
witli anyone who would listen to him, and indulging in 
laughter whicli made up in loudness what it lacked in 
merriment. When he walked, it was with a peculiar, sinu- 
ous motion. The lines in his face gave him so sour an ex- 
pression that Steve Allen, just after he moved to the court- 
nouse to practise law, said that Leech, from his look, must 
be as great a stench in his own nostrils as in those of 
other people. This speech brought Steve Leech's undy- 
ing hatred, though he veiled it well enough at the moment 
and simply bided his time. 

The Provost-Marshal was not a prepossessing person 


even to Still ; but Mrs. Gray's manager had large schemes 
in his mind, and the new-comer appeared a likely person 
to aid him in carrying them out. They soon became ad- 
visers for each other. 

"You can't do notliin' with them two young men/' the 
overseer told the Provost. "I've done gauged 'em. I know 
'em as soon as I see 'em, and I tell you they don't think 
no more of folks like you and me than of the dirt under 
their feet. They're for the aristocrats." 

He shortly gauged the Provost. 

" When I know what a man wants, I know how to git at 
him," he said to his son Wash, afterward. " He wants to get 
up — but first he wants money — and we must let him see it. 
I lent him a leetle too — just to grease the skillet. When 
you've lent a man money you've got a halter on him." 

"You're a mighty big fool to lend your money to a 
man you don't know anything about. You'll never get it 
back," observed Wash, surlily. 

"Ah ! Won't I ? Trust me ; I never lend money that 
I don't get it back in one shape or another — with interest 
too. I don't expect to get that back." He dropped his 
voice. " That's what I call 8 purchase — not a loan. Don't 
try to fry your chicken till you've greased the pan, my son." 

" Something in that," admitted the young medical stu- 
dent. They were sitting on the little front porch of the 
overseer's house, and Hiram Still's eye took in the scene 
about him — the wide fields, the rich, low-grounds, the chim- 
neys of the mansion-house peeping from the grove of great 
trees on its high hill a half mile away. His face lit up. 

" Ah ! Wash, if you trust your old pappy, you'll see 
some mighty changes in this here county. What'd you 
say if you was to see yourself some day settin' up in that 
big hall yonder, with, say, a pretty young lady from acrost 
the river, and that Steve and Mr. Jacquelin ploughin' in 
thefurrer ?" 

"By G — d ! I'd love it," declared Wash, decisively, his 
good-humor thoroughly restored. 



Leech shortly determined to give the neighborhood an 
illustration of his power, and, striking, he struck high. 

A few days after the Provost's arrival Dr. Gary received 
a summons to appear before him at the court-house next 
day. It was issued on the complaint of " the Rev. James 
Sherwood/' and was signed, '^Jonadab Leech, Provost 
commanding,'' etc. 

General Legale, wlio was at Birdwood when the soldier 
who served the summons arrived, was urgent that Dr. 
Gary should refuse to obey it ; but the Doctor said he 
would go. He would obey the law. He would not, how- 
ever report to Leech, but to Gaptain Middleton, the rank- 
ing officer. The General said if the Doctor would persist 
in going, he would go with him to represent him. So next 
morning the two old officers rode down to the Court-house 
together, the General very martial, and Dr. Gary very calm. 

When they reached the county seat they found "• the 
street," or road in front of "the green," which was occu- 
pied by the camp of the soldiers, filled with negroes, men 
and women. They had made booths of- boughs in the fence- 
corners, where they were living like children at play, 
and W3re all in the gayest spirits, laughing and shouting 
and "larking" among themselves, presenting in this regard 
a very different state of mind from that of the two gentle- 
men. They were, however, respectful enougli to them, 
and when the riders inquired where the commanding 
officer was, there were plenty of offers to sliow them, and 
more than enough to hold tlieir horses. Some of them 



indicated that the commander was in the old store on the 
roadside, which appeared from the throng about it to be 
the centre of interest to the crowd. 

"■ Dat ain't nnttin but the buro, sir ; the ones you wants 
to see is up yonder at Miss' Dockett's ; I knows de ones 
you wants to see," said Tom, one of the Doctor's old ser- 
vants, with great pride. 

To settle the question, the Doctor dismounted and 
walked in, giving his horse to the old man to hold. 

The front of the store was full of negroes, packed to- 
gether as thick as they could stand, and simply waiting. 
They made way for the Doctor and he passed through to 
the rear, where there was a little partition walling off a 
back room. Tlie door was ajar, and inside were seated two 
men, one a stranger in uniform, the other, a man who 
sat with his back to the door, and who, at the moment that 
the Doctor approached, was leaning forward, talking to the 
Provost in a low, earnest half-whisijer. As the visitor 
knocked the official glanced up and the other man turned 
quickly and looked over his shoulder. Seeing Dr. Cary he 
sprang to his feet. It was Pliram Still. 

"I wish to see the officer in command," announced the 
Doctor. " Good-morning Mr. Still." His tone expressed 

" I am the officer in command," said the official, shortly. 

"Ah ! you are not Captain Middleton ? I believe he is 
in command." 

''No, I guess not. I'm Captain Leech, head of the 
Fi'eedmen's Bureait." His voice was thin but assertive, 
and he spoke as if he had been contradicted. 

*'Ah ! It is the regular officer I wish to see." 

"Vvl\ regular enough, I guess, and if it's anything 
about the freedmen you'll find, I guess, I'm the one to 
see." He turned from the Doctor with studied indiifer- 
ence and motioned to his companion to resume his seat. 
The latter, however, came forward. He had apjsarently 
recovered somewhat from his confusion. 


" This is Dr. Caiy, one of the nnest gentlemen in our 
county/' he said to tlie officer, as if he were making a 
speech, and then turned to the Doctor : " Captain Leech 
is the gentleman to see about getting our hands back. 
Fact is, I am just down here about that now." 

Leech had been looking at the Doctor with new interest. 
'' So you're Dr. Gary ? " he said. '' Well, I'm the one for 
you to see. I summoned you to appear before me to know 
why you turned the Rev. Mr. Sherwood out of his home." 
His manner was growing more and more insolent, and the 
Doctor stiffened. The only notice he took was to look 
over Leech's head. 

*' Ah ! I believe I will go and see Captain Middleton," 
he said, with dignity. " Good-morning," and he walked 
out, his head held somewhat higher than when he went in, 
leaving Leech fuming in impotent rage, and Still to give 
the Head of the Bureau behind his back a very different 
estimate of him from that which he had just declared so 
loudly in his presence. 

''He's one of that same sort with your young men," 
said the manager, " only more so. What did I tell you ? 
See, he won't talk to yoiil He wants to talk to Captain 
Middleton. You trust me, I'll keep you informed. I 
know 'em all. Not that be ain't better than most, because 
he's naturally kind-hearted and would do well enough if let 
alone, but he can't help it. It's bred in the bone. But 
I'm too smart for 'em. I was too smart for 'em durin' 
the war, and I am still." He gave the Provost a confiden- 
tial wink. 

" Well, he'll find out who I am before he gets through," 
said Leech. "I guess he'll find I'm about as big a man 
as Captain Middleton." He squared back his thin shoul- 
ders and puffed out his chest. "I'll show him." He 
turned to the door. 

" That's it— that's it," smiled Still, delightedly. 

Meantime Dr. Gary had joined General Legale, and with 
the single remark that it was "the commanding officer, not 


the commissary/' that they wanted to see, they rode up 
the hin. 

When the two gentlemen arrived at Mrs. Dockett's they 
fonnd that energetic lady, trowel in hand, among her 
flowers, and were received by her with so mnch distinction 
that it produced immediately a great impression on her 
two lodgers, who, unseen, were observing them from their 

" Gad ! Larry, there's Don Quixote, and he's brought 
his cousin. Dr. Filgrave, along with him. He must be a 
lieutenant-general at least. See the way the old lady is 
smiling ! I must learn his secret." And the little Lieu- 
tenant sprang to the mirror and rattled on as Middleton 
got ready for the interview which he anticipated, and the 
two gentlemen came slowly up the walk, bareheaded, witli 
Mrs. Dockett, talking energetically, between them. 

The next moment there was a tramp outside the door, 
and with that rap, which Thurston said was a model for 
the last trump, Mrs. Dockett herself flung open the door 
and announced, with a wave of her hand : 

" General Legale and Major Gary." 

The two visitors were received with great respect. Mid- 
dleton was at his best, and in the face of a somewhat 
depressing gravity on the two old officers' part, tried to 
give the interview a friendly turn by recalling pleasantly 
his visit to Red Rock before the war, and his recollection 
of Dr. Gary and his daughter. He ventured even to inquire 
after her. He supposed she was a good big girl now ? 

''Yes, she was almost quite grown and was enjoying 
very good health," said the Doctor, bowing civilly, and lie 
proceeded forthwith to state the cause of their visit, while 
Thurston introduced to the General, somewhat irrelevantly, 
the subject of fishing. 

Gaptain Middleton listened respectfully to all the two 
gentlemen had to say. He agreed with them as to the ne- 
cessity of establishing some form of civil government in 
the counties, and believed that steps would be taken to do 


SO as soon as possible. Meantime he should preserve or- 
der. Matters relating to the negroes, except in the line of 
preserving order, were, however, rather beyond his prov- 
ince, and properly under the control of an entirely dis- 
tinct branch, which was just being organized, with hetid- 
quarters for the State, in the city. He said he would go 
with Dr. Gary before the Provost and see that he was 
not annoyed by any frivolous charge. So he accompanied 
the two gentlemen back to Leech's office and attended the 
trial. It was galling enough to the two gentlemen as it 
was ; and but for the presence of Middleton might have 
been much more so. Leech's blue eyes snapped with 
pleasure at the reappearance of the old officers, but were 
filled with a vague disquiet at the presence of their com- 
panion. However, he immediately proceeded with much 
importance to take up the case. The "trial" was held 
in the court-house, and the Provost sat in the judge's 
seat. The negroes around took in quickly that something 
unusual was happening, and the court-room was thronged 
with them, all filled with curiosity, and many of the older 
ones wearing on their faces a preternatural solemnity. 
Sherwood was present, in a black coat, his countenance 
expressive of comical self-importance. Dr. Gary and Gen- 
eral Legaie sat behind the bar, the Doctor, somewhat 
paler than usual, his head up, his mouth compressed, and 
his thin nostrils dilating ; the General's eyes glowing with 
the fire that smouldered beneath. Middleton sat off to one 
side, a little in front of the bar, a silent but observant 

The case was stated by Leech, and without the useless* 
formality of examining the complainant who had already 
given his story, Dr. Gary was asked by the Provost, why 
he had driven Sherwood off. 

The Doctor rose and made his statement. When he 
first stood up the compression of his lips showed the feel- 
ing under which he labored ; but the next second he had 
mastered himself, and when he spoke it was with as much 


respect as if lie were addressing the Chief Justice. The 
land was his, and he claimed that he would have had the 
right to drive the man off had he wished to do so ; but, as 
a matter of fact, he had not done so — he had not done so 
on account of Sherwood's wife, who was the daughter 
of the old mammy in his family, and a valued servant. He 
had only deposed him from being the manager. 

The Provost was manifestly a little disconcerted by this 
announcement. He glanced about him. The Doctor had 
evidently made an impression. 

" Can you prove this ? " he asked, sharply. The General 
wriggled in his chair, his hands clutching the sides, and 
the Doctor for a second looked a trifle more grim. He 
drew in a long breath. 

"Well, my wo I'd has usually been taken as proof of a 
fact I stated," he said, slowly. " But if you desire further 
proof, there are several of my old servants present who will 
corroborate what I state. Perhaps you might be willing 
to accept their testimony ? " He looked the Provost in the 
eyes, and then glanced around half humorously. " Tom ! " 
he called to the old man who had hold his horse, and wlio 
was now standing in the front row. " Will you state what 
occurred, to this — ah — officer ? " 

"Yas, suh — I'll groberate ev'y wud you say — 'cus' I 
wuz dyah," asserted Tom, with manifest pride. 

" Dat's so," called out one or two others, not to be out- 
done by Tom, and the tide set in for the Doctor. 

The Provost, in this state of the case, declared that the 
charge was not sustained, and he felt it his duty to dismiss 
the complaint. He, however, would take this occasion to 
state his views on the duties of the former owners to their 
slaves ; and he delivered a long and somewhat rambling 
discourse on the subject, manifestly designed for the sable 
part of his audience. When he concluded, and just as he 
started to rise, the General sprang to his feet. The Doc- 
tor looked at him with some curiosity, perhaps not 
nnmingled with anxiety, for the General's eyes were 


blazing. With an effort, however, the General controlled 

" Permit me to say, Mr. Provost, that 3'our views, like 
those of a good many j^eople of your class, are more valu- 
able to yourself than to others." He bowed low. 

" Dat's so, too ! " called out Tom, who was still in a 
corroborative mood, on which there was a guffaw from the 
negroes. And with this shot, the General, after looking 
the Provost steadily in the eyes, turned on his heel and 
stalked out of the court-house, leaving Leech trying inef- 
fectually to look as if he, as well as others, appreciated the 
humor of Tom's speech. 

As they came out, Middleton took occasion to reopen 
their former conversation as to the necessity of establishing 
some form of civil government in the counties. He be- 
lieved, he said, that the two gentlemen might find it bet- 
ter to apply to the head of the bureau in this section — 
Colonel Krafton — rather than to attempt to secure any co- 
operation from Leech, who, he said, was only a subordinate, 
and really had little authority. 

Middleton and Thurston quickly felt the beneficial ef- 
fect of their civility to the old officers, in the increasing 
cordiality shown them by their landlady. Mrs. Dockett 
gave them a full account of both visitors, their pedigrees 
and position, not omitting a glowing picture of the beauty 
and charms of the daughter of Dr. Gary, and a hint 
that she was bound to marry either Jacquelin Gray, the 
owner of Eed Rock, or her cousin. Captain Stevenson 
Allen, who, Mrs. Dockett declared, was the finest young 
man in the world, and had applied to her for table-board 
that very day. 

This was interesting, at least to Thurston, who declared 
that now that he was succeeding so well with Miss Dockett, 
it was necessary to utilize Middleton's figure. Events, 
however, were moving without Thurston's agency. 
• An order came to Middleton from head-quarters a day 
or two later to go to the upper end of the county and in- 


vestigate certain " mysterious meetings'' which, it was re- 
ported, were being held in that section. 

The list given of those wlio participated in such meetings 
made Middleton whistle. It contained the names of Dr. 
Cary, General Legale, Captain Allen, and nearly every 
man of prominence in the county. 

The name given- him, as that of the person who could 
furnish him with information, was Hiram Still ; and the 
order contained explicit directions where to meet him. 
He would find him at a certain hour at the house of a 
colored man, named Nicholas Ash. 

So the Captain rode up to a small cabin situated in a 
little valley near the Red Rock place, and had an interview 
with Still, who appeared to Middleton far more mysterious 
than anything else he discovered on his trip. The meet- 
ings referred to, seemed to be only those social gatherings 
which Dr. Cary had already spoken of to the young officer. 
When Middleton prepared to leave, Mr. Still oliered to 
show him a nearer way back by the ford below the old 
bridge that had been destroyed during the war, and as it 
was late in the afternoon, Middleton accepted his offer. 

They were almost at the ford when an old carriage came 
out of the road which led down from the Red Rock plan- 
tation, and turned into the main road just before them. 
Still pulled uj) his horse, and, excusing himself from going 
any farther, on the ground that if Middleton followed the 
carriage he would be all right, turned back. All anyone 
had to do, he said, was to keep down the river a little, so as 
not to hit the sunken timbers ; but not to go too far down 
or he would get over a ledge of rock and into deep water. 

As the road was narrow and Middleton supposed that 
the driver knew the ford, he kept behind the carriage, and 
let it cross before him. One of the liorses aj^peared to be 
afraid of the water, and the driver had to whip him to 
force him in. So when he entered the stream he was 
plunging, and, continuing to plunge, he got among the 
sunken timbers and fell. 


Middleton was so close behind the carriage that he could 
hear the voices of two ladies inside, one of whom was ap- 
parently much alarmed, whilst the other was soothing her, 
and encouraging the driver. He heard her say: 

" There's no danger, Cousin Thomasia. Gideon can 
manage them," But there was some danger, and " Cousin 
Thomasia" appeared to know it. The danger was that the 
frightened hoi'ses might turn and pull the vehicle around, 
upsetting it in the deep water below, and as the fallen 
horse struggled, Middleton dashed in on the lower side, 
and catching the near horse, steadied him whilst the other 
got up. Then, springing from his own horse, he caught 
the other just as he got to his feet, and held to him until 
they reached the fartlier bank, where he assisted the 
driver in bringing them to a stand-still, and enabled the 
ladies to get out and see what damage had been done. 

He had taken in, even as he passed the carriage in the 
water, that the two occupants were an elderly lady and a 
young lady, the latter of whom appeared to be holding the 
former ; but it was after he reached the bank that he 
observed that the younger of the two ladies was one of the 
prettiest girls he had ever seen. And the next second he 
recognized her as Miss Cary. She evidently recognized 
him too. As she turned to thank him, after she had 
helped her companion from the carriage, the color rose to 
her face, appearing the deeper and more charming because 
of the white which had just preceded it, and which it so 
rapidly followed ; and there was a look in her eyes which 
was part shy embarrassment and part merriment. He 
saw that she knew him, but she did not admit it. 

He began to examine busily the harness, which was old, 
and had been broken in several places. He had some straps 
on his saddle, he said, which he would get. The girl 
thanked him, with quiet dignity, but declined firmly. 

They would not trouble him. Gideon could mend it, 
and she could hold the horses. She bowed to him, with 
grave ej-es, and made a movement toward the horse, hold- 


ing out her ungloved hand to catch the bridle, and say- 
ing, "Whoa, boy," in a voice which Middleton thought 
might have tamed Bucephalus. Miss Thomasia, how- 
ever, mildly but firmly interposed. 

" No, indeed, my dear, I'll never get into that carriage 
again behind those dreadful horses, unless this — this — gen- 
tleman (the word was a little difficult) stays right by their 
heads. I am the greatest coward in the world/' she said to 
Middleton in the most confiding and friendly manner ; "I 
am afraid of everything." (Then to her companion again, 
in a lower tone :) "It is very hard to be beholden to a 
Yankee ; but it is much better than having your neck 
broken. And we are very much obliged to you, sir, I 

assure you. Blair, my dear, let the " She paused and 

took breath. 

" Yankee," said Middleton, in a clear voice, much 
amused, as he worked diligently at a strap. 

" — Gentleman\iQ\^Vi?>. Don't be too obstinate. Nothing 
distinguishes a lady more than her manner of giving in." 

So, as Middleton was already at work, the girl could do 
nothing but yield. He got his straps, and soon had the 
breaks repaired, and, having, at Miss Thomasia's request, 
held the horses while the ladies re-entered the vehicle, and 
then having started them off, he stood aside and saluted as 
they passed, catching, accidentally. Miss Gary's eyes, which 
were once more grave. The only remark she had volun- 
teered to him outside of the subject of the broken harness 
was in praise of his horse, which was, indeed, a magnificent 

A few minutes later, the young Captain galloped by the 
carriage, but he did not glance in, he simply saluted as he 
passed, with eyes straight to the front. 

When he reached home that night Larry Middleton was 
graver than usual ; but little Thurston, after hearing of 
the adventure, was in better spirits than he had shown for 
some time. He glanced at Middleton's half-discontented 
face, and burst out : 


'''Oh! cast that shadow from thy brow/ It was 
clearly Providence, Why, Larry, after that they are ob- 
liged to invite us to dinner." 

" Why, she didn't even speak to me,'' growled Middle- 
ton, puffing away at his pipe. " And I know she recog- 
nized me, just as clearly as I did her." 

" Of course, she recognized you — recognized you as one 
of the enemies of her country — a hated oppressor — a des- 
picable Yankee. Did you expect her to fall on your neck 
and weep ? On my soul ! she's a girl of spirit ! Like my 
own adorable Elizabeth ! All the same, we're as good for 
invitations to whatever they give as a dollar is for a dough- 

And when a day or two later a note from Dr. Gary, in a 
formal handwriting and equally formal words, was brought 
to Captain Middleton, thanking him for his " opportune 
and courteous aid " to his daughter and cousin. Lieu- 
tenant Thurston declared that it was an invitation to 
Middleton's wedding. 



Steve Allen on his removal to the county seat after his 
sudden abandonment of farming, had taken up his quar- 
ters in an old building, fronting on the court-green near 
the Clerk's office, and with its rear opening on a little lane 
which led to two of the principal roads in the county. 
From the evening of his arrival Steve took possession of 
the entire village. He wore his old cavalry uniform, the 
only suit he possessed, and, with his slouched hat set on 
one side of his . handsome head, carried himself so inde- 
pendently that he was regarded, with some disfavor by the 
two young officers, whom he on his side treated with just 
that manner which appeared to him most exasperating to 
each of them. He was immediately the most popular man 
in the place. He played cards with the men, and marbles 
with the boys ; made love to the girls, and teased the old 
women ; joked with the soldiers, especially with the big 
Irish Sergeant, Dennis O'Meara, and fought the war over 
with the officers. He boldly asserted that the Confeder- 
ates had been victorious in every battle they had ever 
fought, and had, as someone said, simply "worn them- 
selves out whipping the Yankees," a line of tactics which 
exasperated even little Thurston, until he one day sur- 
prised a gleam of such amused satisfaction in Steve's gray 
eyes that he afterward avoided the ambuscade and enjoyed 
the diversion of seeing Leech, and even Middleton, caught. 

Leech had been warned in advance by Mr. Still of 
Steve Allen's intention to settle at the county seat, and im- 



mediately on Ste^^e's arrival liad notified him to appear be- 
fore him as Provost and exhibit his parole. From that 
time Steve had taken Leech as his prey. Knowing that 
the Provost was not the proper officer, he did not obey the 
order, and repaid Leech's insolence with burning contempt, 
never failing, on occasion, to fire some shafts at him which 
penetrated and stung. 

General Legale and Dr. Gary, after their experience with 
Leech, determined to lose no more time than was necessary 
in adopting the suggestion of Gaptain Middleton and 
going to see the Commandant of the Freedmen's Bureau 
in the city. The General, however, stipulated that he 
should not be expected to do more than state his vicAVs to 
the officer in command. This he was willing to do, as he 
was going with Dr. Gary to the city, where the Doctor was 
to see Mr, Ledger and conclude the negotiation for a loan 
to re-stock his plantation. 

It happened, however, that when General Legaie and 
Dr. Gary called on Golonel Krafton, two other visitors from 
their county had been to see that officer : Hiram Still and 

The two gentlemen were kept waiting for some time 
after their names had been taken in by the sentinel be- 
fore they were admitted to the Ghief Pi'ovost's presence, 
and every minute of that period the General grew hotter 
and hotter, and walked up and down the little ante-room 
with more and more dignity. 

" Dr. Johnson before Lord Chesterfield," said the 
Doctor, laughing at his friend's impatience and indigna- 

"Dr. Johnson before a dog! "was the little General's 
retort. " Why, sir, I never treated a negro in my life 
as he has treated us." 

At last, however, they were admitted. 

The officer, a stout man with closely cropped iron-gray 
hair, a lowering brow and a heavy jaw, was seated at his 
desk writing. He did not look up when they entered, but 


said, '"'Sit down," and wrote on. When* he was through, 
he called out, and a sentinel entered. 

' Send that off at once — or — wait where you are. I 
may have another to send." He turned to the two visitors 
who were still standing. 


"I am Major Gary," that gentleman said, advancing, 
*' And this is General Legale." He bowed gravely. 

" Oh ! I know you," said the officer. He turned to 
his desk and searched for something. 

'' Oh ! — I was not aware that I had had the pleasure 
of meeting you before," said the Doctor, brightening. 
" Where was it, sir ? I regret that my memory has not 
served me better." He seated himself. 

^' I did not say I had met you — I said I knew you, and 
I do. I know you both." 

"' Oh ! I thought I should not have forgotten," said the 

" No, nor you won't. I have a report of you, and know 
why you've come." Pie shook his head as he turned to 
them. " I'm Colonel Krafton, Provost of this district, and 
I mean to be the Provost, and you might as well under- 
stand it now as hereafter." 

" Oh ! " said the Doctor, rising slowly from the seat he 
had taken. 

"1 know about 3^our conferences, and your meetings, 
and the terms you propose to dictate to me ; but I v.'ili 
show you that I am in authority here and I don't propose 
to be dictated to, either ; do you understand ? I don't want 
any of your advice. When I want you I'll send for you ; 
do you understand ? " 

The Doctor, who had waited in a sort of maze for the 
Provost to pause, turned to his friend, whose face was per- 
fectly white and whose usually pleasant eyes had a red rim 
around the irises. 

"I beg your pardon, (loneral Legale, I thought we 
should find a gentleman, but " 


" I never did, Major," said the little General. " But I 
had no idea we should find such a dog as this." He 
turned to the Provost, and, with a bow, fixed his eyes on 
him. But that officer looked at the sentry and said : 

" Open the door." 

The General looked out of it, expecting a file of soldiers 
to arrest them, and straightened himself for the ordeal. 
There was none there, however. The General's counte- 
nance fell. 

" I said ' dog, ' but I apologize to that animal, and say — 
ruorm !" He turned his eyes once more on the Provost. 

" I shall be at the Brandon tavern until the evening. 
Do you understand that ?"he said, addressing the Provost. 
He stalked out, his nose high in the air, his heels ringing 
on the floor. 

As soon as they were outside, the Doctor began to 
apologize to the General again ; but the latter, having 
blown off his steam, and fully appreciating his friend's 
mortification, was very handsome about it. He had at 
heart a sly hope that the Provost officer might consult 
some friend who would insist on his taking up the insult, 
and so give him a satisfaction which he was at that mo- 
ment very eager for. None came that evening, however, 
and as the next day none had come, the General was 
forced to return home unsatisfied. 

The effect of Dr. Gary's and General Legaie's interview 
witli Colonel Krafton was shortly felt in the county. 

A few days later an order came for an inquisition to 
be made from house to house for arms. The labor this 
required was so great that it was divided up. In the 
part of the county where General Legale lived, the in- 
vestigation was made by Middleton, who conducted him- 
self throughout with due propriety, even declaring it, as 
General Legale reijorted, " an unpleasant duty," and 
*' taking in every case a gentlenian's word," never touch- 
ing a thing except, perhaps, where there would be an 
army musket or pistol. General Legaie's old duelling- 


pistols, which liis butler, Julius, had hidden and taken care 
of all during the war, were left unmolested, and the young 
officer went so far as to express, the General stated, a 
" somewhat critical admiration for them," observing that 
they were the first genuine duelling-pistols he had ever 
seen. On this the General — though, as he declared, it re- 
quired all his politeness to do so — could not but make the 
offer that in case CajDtain Middleton should ever have 
occasion to use a pair they were entirely at his service. 

In the Red Rock and Birdwood neighborhood, the 
people were uot so fortunate. There the inquisition was 
conducted by Leech — partly, perhaps, because the two 
young officers did not wish to pay their first visit to Dr. 
Gary's on such an errand, and partly because Leech re- 
quested to be allowed to assist in the work. 

Though the other officers knew nothing of it. Leech had 
two reasons for wishing to conduct the search for arms at 
Dr. Gary's. He had not forgotten Dr. Gary's action and 
look the day of tlie trial. The other reason was hatred of 
Steve Allen. '' I'll show him what I can smell," he said to 
Still, who smiled contentedly. 

"It won't do to fool with him too much, personally," 
Still warned him. " He's a dangerous man. They're all 
of 'em dangerous, you hear me." 

" I'll show 'em who I am, before I'm through with 'em," 
said Leech. 

Thus the inquisition for arms was peculiarly grateful to 

Leech had a squad of men under his command, which 
made him feel as if he were really an officer, and he gave 
them orders as though he were leading them to a battle. 
He intimated that they might be met with force, and as- 
serted that, if so, he should act promptly. On riding u]) to 
the Doctor's a Sabbatic stillness reigned over everything. 

The Doctor was not at home that day, having gone to the 
city to see the General in command there about the appoint- 
ment of magistrates and other civil officers for the county. 


and, as Mrs. Gary had a sick headache, the blinds were 
closed, and Blair and old Mammy Krenda were keeping 
every sound hushed. It was a soft, balmy afternoon, when 
all nature seemed to doze. The sunlight lay on the fields 
and grass, and the trees and shrubbery rustled softly in 
the summer breeze. 

Flinging himself from his horse, the Provost banged on 
the door loudly and, without waiting for anyone to answer 
his summons, stalked noisily into the house with his 
men behind him. Both Blair and Mammy Krenda pro- 
tested against his invading one particular apartment. 
Blair planted herself in front of the door. She was 
dressed in a simple white dress, and her face was almost as 
white as the dress. 

" What's in there ?" asked Leech. 

" Nothing. My mother is in there with a sick headache." 

''Ah-h-h!" said Leech, derisively. He caught Blair 
by the arm roughly. Blair drew back, the color flaming 
in her cheeks, and the old negro woman stepped up in her 
place, bristling with anger. 

The flash in the young girl's eyes as she drew herself up 
abashed the Provost. But he recovered himself and, push- 
ing old Krenda roughly aside, opened the door. There he 
flung open the blinds and rummaged in the drawers, turn- 
ing everything out on the floor, and carried off in triumph 
a pair of old, horseman's pistols which had belonged to the 
Doctor's grandfather in the Eevolutionary War, and had 
been changed from flintlock to percussion at the outbreak 
of the recent hostilities. 

Leech had just come out of this room when Jacquelin 
Gray drove up. He stopped outside for a moment to ask 
what the presence of the soldiers meant, and then came 
hobbling on his crutches into the house. 

As he entered, Blair turned to him with a gesture, partly 
of relief and partly of apprehension. 

"Oh, Jacquelin!" The rest was only a sob. Tiie 
blood flushed Jacquelin's pale face, and he passed by her. 


*' By what authority do you commit this outrage ?" he 
asked Leech. 

'' By authority enough for you. By what authority do 
you dare to interfere with an officer in the discharge of his 
duty, you limping, rebel dog ? If you know what is good 
for you, you'll take yourself off pretty quick." Leech took 
in his squad with a wave of his hand, and encountering 
Jacquelin's blazing eyes and a certain motion of his crutch, 
moved a little nearer to his men, laying his hand on his 
pistol as he did so. 

Blair made a gesture to stop Jacquelin ; but he took no heed 
of it. He moved on his crutches nearer to the Provost. 

"I demand to know your authority, dog," he said, ig- 
noring both Leech's threat and Blair's imploring look. 

"I'll show you. Seize him and search him," said 
Leech, falling behind his squad and adding an epithet not 
necessary to be repeated. 

" I am not armed ; if I were — " said Jacquelin. At 
Blair's gesture he stopjjed. 

" Well, what would you do ?" Leech asked after wait- 
ing a moment for Jacquelin to proceed. " You hear what 
he says. Sergeant ? " He addressed the bluff, red-haired 
Irishman who wore a sergeant's chevrons. 

" Sames to me he says nothin' at tall," said the Ser- 
geant, who was the same man that had had charge of the 
ambulance in which Jacquelin had been brought home the 
day he arrived, and who had been a little grumpy ever 
since he had been put under Leech's command. 

" Arrest him and if he offers any resistance, tie him 
securely to a tree outside," ordered Leech. 

" Does Captain Middleton know of this ? " Jacquelin 
asked the Sergeant. 

" Well, you see, it's arders from headquarrters, an' I 
guess the Cap'n thaught bayiu' a ferrut was a little more 
in his line," The Sergeant nodded his liead in the direc- 
tion of Leech, who had called the other men and gone on 
ostentatiously with his search. 



Just then, however, the Provost encountered a fresh 
enemy. If Mrs. Gary and Miss Blair deemed it more dig- 
nified and ladylike to preserve absolute silence during this 
invasion. Mammy Krenda had no such inconvenient views. 
The old woman had nursed both Mrs. Gary and her daugh- 
ter. She was, indeed, what her title implied, and had all 
her life held the position of a member of the family. In 
her master's absence she considered herself responsible, and 
she had followed Leech from room to room, dogging his 
every step, and now, emboldened by Jacquelin's presence, 
she burst forth, j)ouriug out on the Provost the vials of her 
wrath which, instead of being exhausted by use, gathered 
volume and virulence with every minute. 

" Yaas, I know jest what sort you is,'' she said, mock- 
ingly: "you is the sort o' houn'-dog that ain't got sperit 
enough to fight even a ole hyah, let alone a coon ; but 
comes sneakin' into folks' kitchen, tryin' to steal a scrap 
from chillerns' mouths when folks' backs air turned ! I 
ain't talkin' to you all," she explained, with ready tact, 
to the squad of privates who showed in their counte- 
nances some appreciation of her homely, but apt illustra- 
tion ; "I know you all's got to do it if you" marsters tell's 
you to. Nor, I'm talkin' to him. I declare I'm right 
glad my marster ain't at home ; I'm feared he'd sile 
his shoe kickin' yer dutty body out de do'." She stood 
with her arms akimbo, and her eyes half-closed in de- 

This touch, with an ill-suppressed snicker from one of 
the men behind, proved too much for the leader's self-con- 
trol, and he turned in a rage : 

"Shut up, you black hag," he snarled, angrily, "or I'll 
— I'll — " He paused, hunting for a threat which would 
appall her. " I'll tie you to a tree outside and wear out a 
hickory on you." 

If he thought to quell the old woman by this, however, 
he was mistaken. He only infuriated her the more. 

" You will, will you ! " she hissed, straightening herself 


up and walking up close to him. *' Do you know what 
would happen if you did ? My marster would cut your 
heart out o' you ; but I wouldn't lef you for him to do it ! 
You ain't fitten for him to tetch. De aiu' nobody uver 
tetched me since my mammy whipped me last ; and she 
died when I was twelve years ole' ; an' ef you lay your 
hand 'pon me I'll wear you out tell you ain't got a piece o' 
skin on you as big as dat ! — see ? " She walked up close 
to him and indicating the long, pink nail on her clawlike 
little-finger, poked a black and sinewy little fist close up 
under the Provost's very nose. 

" Now — " she panted : " Heah me ; tetch me ! " 

But Leech had recovered himself. He quailed before 
the two blazing coals of fire that appeared ready to dart at 
him, and recognizing the fact that even his men were 
against him and, like Jacquelin, were secretly enjoying his 
discomfiture, he angrily ordered them out of the house 
and concealed as best he could his consuming inward 

Incensed by Jacquelin's look of satisfaction at the old 
mammy's attack, Leech took him along with him, threat- 
ening him with dire punishment for interfering with a 
Union officer in the discharge of his duty ; but learning 
from the Sergeant that Jacquelin was " & friend of the 
Captain's," he released him, assuring him of the fortunate 
escape he had, and promising him very different treat- 
ment "next time." Jacquelin i-eturned no answer what- 
ever until at the end, when he said, looking him deep in 
the eyes, " It may not be next time, you dog ; but some 
time will be my time." 

When Dr. Gary reached home that evening, both Mrs. 
Gary and Blair congratulated themselves afresh that he 
had been absent during the Provost's visit. The first 
mention of the man's conduct had such an effect on him 
that Mrs. Gary, who had already interviewed both her 
daughter and the mammy on the propriety of giving a 
somewhat modified account of the visitation, felt it neees- 


sary to make even yet lighter of it tlian she had iuteuded. 
The Doctor grew very quiet, and his usually pleasant mouth 
shut close, bringing his chin out strongly and giving him 
an uncommonly stern appearance. Mrs. Cary whipped 
around suddenly and gave the matter a humorous tarn. 
But the Doctor was not to be diverted ; the insolence of 
Leeches action to Blair, and of penetrating into his wife's 
chamber, had sunk in deeply, and a little later, having left 
his wife's sick-room, he called up the mammy. If Mrs. 
Cary possessed instincts and powers of self-control which 
enabled her to efface her sense of injury in presence of a 
greater danger, the old servant had no such cultivated fac- 
ulty. At the first mention of the matter by the Doctor, 
her sense of injury rose again, her outraged pride came 
to the surface once more, and in the presence of him 
to whom she had always looked for protection her self- 
control gave out. 

She started to tell the story lightly, as she knew her 
mistress wished done, but, at the first word, broke down 
and suddenly began to whimper and rock. 

When it had all come put between sobs of rage and mor- 
tification, her master sent her away soothed with a sense 
of his sympathy and of the coming retribution which he 
would exact. 

When the Doctor saw Mrs. Cary again, he was as j^lacid 
as a May-morning, perhaps more placid than usual. He 
thought himself very clever indeed. But no man is clever 
enough to deceive his wife if she suspects him, and Mrs. 
Cary read him as though he had been an open book. As a 
result, before he left her room she had exacted a promise 
from him not under any circumstances to seek a personal 
interview with Leech, or even to go to the court-house for 
some time. 

The story of the old negro woman's terrible tongue-lash- 
ing of the Provost got abroad. He had attempted to use 
both command and persuasion to prevent his men from 
telling it, but even the bribery of a free treat at a store on 


the roadside;, which was a liberality he had never been 
known to display before, failed to secure the desired secrecy, 
and the story reached the court-house almost as quickly as 
he. Sergeant O'Meara related it to the camp with great 

" Bedad ! " said he, " the ould woman looked like wan 
of theyse little black game-burruds whan a dog comes 
around her chicks, with her fithers all oop on her back 
and her wings spraid, and the Liftenant — if he is a Liften- 
ant, which I don't say he is, moind — he looked as red as 
a turkey-cock and didn't show much moor courege. She 
was a very discriminating person, bedad ! She jiicked me 
out for a gintleman and the sutler for a dog, and bedad ! 
she wasn't far wrong in ayether. Only you're not to say 
I towld you, for whan a gintleman drinks a man's whiskey 
it doesn't become him to tell tales on him." 

Perhaps it was well for Mr. Jonadab Leech that the 
matter got abroad, for it gave the incident a lighter turn 
than it otherwise would have had. As it was, tliere was 
a storm of indignation in the county, and next day there 
were more of the old Confederate soldiers in the village 
than had been there since the war closed. In their gray 
uniforms, faded as they were, they looked imposing. 
Leech spent the day in the precincts of the camp. A 
deputation, with Steve Allen at their head, waited on 
Middleton and had a short interview with him, in which 
they told him that they proposed to obey the laws, but 
they did not propose to permit ladies to be insulted. 

" For I tell you now, Captain Middleton," said Steve, 
*' before we will allow our women to be insulted, we will 
kill every man of you. AVe are not afraid to do it." He 
spoke as quietly as though he were saying the most ordi- 
nary thing in the world. Middleton faced him calmly. 
The two men looked in each other's eyes, and recognized 
each other's courage. 

*'YouT threat has no effect on me," said Middleton; 
*' but I wish to sav that before I will allow anv woman to 


be insulted, I will kill every man in my command. 
Lieutenant Leech is not in my command, though in a 
measure subject to my authority ; but the matter shall be 
investigated immediately." 

What occurred in the interview which took place be- 
tween Middletou and Leech was not known at the time, 
but that night Leech sent for Still to advise him. Even 
the negroes were looking on him more coldly. 

"I knows if he lays his han' ^pon me, I'm gwine to cut 
his heart out 'n him," said a tall, black young negro in the 
crowd as Leech passed, on his way to his office. It was 
evidently intended for Leech to hear. Leech had not then 
learned to distinguish black countenances and he did not 
yet know Jerry. 

Still was equal to the emergency. " These quality-nig- 
gers ain't used to bein' talked to so," he explained to Leech ; 
"and they won't stand it from nobody but quality. 
They're just as stuck up as their masters, and you can't 
talk to 'em that way. You got to humor 'em. The way 
to manage 'em is through their preachers. Git Sherrod 
and give him a place in the commissary. He's that old 
hag's son-in-law, and he's a preacher. I always manage 'em 
through their preachers." 

The result of taking Still's advice, in one way, so far sur- 
passed Leech's highest expectation, that he could not but 
admit that Still was a genius. One other appointment 
Still suggested, and that was of a negro who had be- 
longed to the Grays and who was believed to have as 
much influence with the devil as Sherwood had in the 
other direction. " And," as Still said, " with Jim Sherrod 
to attend to Heaven and Doctor Moses to manage t'other 
place, I think me and you can sorter manage to git along 
on earth. 

" You've got to do with them," he added, sinking his 

voice almost to a whisper. " For, as I told you, you've 

got to work your triggers up that a-way." He waved his 

hand toward the Xorth. *' If you can git the money you 



say yon can, I can make it over and over fer you faster 
than nigger-trad in'. You jest git Krafton to stand by you 
and that old feller Bolter to stake us, and we're all right. 

''You've got to git rid of this young Captain. One of 
you^s got to go some time, and the one as holds out longest 
will win. 'Twon't do to let him git too strong a hold 
down here. — Now this party they're gittin' up ? , If they 
invite your young men — you might work that string. 
But you can't quarrel Avith him now. You say he's in 
with your Mrs. Welch. Better work the nigger racket. 
That's the strong card now. Git some more boxes from 
Mrs. Welch and let me put 'em where they'll do most good. 
Niggers loves clo'es mo' than money. Don't fall out with 
your young man yet — keep in with a man till yon have 
got under-holt, then you can fling him." 

Meantime, while this conference was going on, Middle- 
ton was in a far less complacent frame of mind. He had 
just left the camp that afternoon and was on his way to 
his quarters, when, -at a turn in the street, he came on a 
group of young gentlemen surrounding a young lady who 
was dressed in a riding-habit, and was giving an animated 
account of some occurrence. As soon as he turned the 
corner, he was too close on them to turn back ; so he 
had to pass. He instantly recognized Miss Gary, though 
her back was toward him : the trim figure, abundant hair, 
and musical voice were not to be forgotten. 

" I don't think you need any guard, so long as you have 
IMammy Krenda," lauglied one of the young men. 

" No, with her for the rank and lile, I am just waiting 
for Captain M — I mean to meet him some day, and " 

" Hush — here he is now." 

" I don't care.'" She tossed her head. 

Middleton could not help hearing what she said, or see- 
ing the gesture that stopped her. 

He passed on, touching his cap to one or two of the 
young men, who returned the salute. But Miss Cary took 
no more notice of him than if he hail been a dog. 


Thurston had reached their room a little before Middle- 
ton arrived. He was in unusually good spirits, having 
just relieved his mind by cursing Leech heartily to Miss 
Dockett, and thus re-establishing himself with that young 
lady, who had been turning her back on him ever since she 
had heard of the incident at Birdwood. In reward for 
this act of reparation, the young lady had condescended to 
tell Lieutenant Thurston of the entertainment which the 
young people proposed to get up ; and the little officer had 
made up his mind that, if possible, he and Middleton 
should be invited. He had just lit his pipe and was, as 
he said, laying out his campaign, when Middleton en- 
tered and, tossing his sword in a corner, without a word, 
lit a cigar, flung himself in an armchair and gazed moodily 
out of the windoAV. The Lieutenant watched his friend 
in silence, with a more serious look on his face than usu- 
ally found lodgement on that cheei'ful countenance. The 
cloud remained on Middleton's brow, but the Lieutenant's 
face cleared up, and presently, between the puffs of his 
pipe, he said : 

''Larry, you need the consolations of religion." 

Middleton, without taking his eyes from the distance, 
turned his cigar in his mouth and remained silent. 

" And I'm going to make you sit under the ministra- 
tions of the pious Mr. Langstuff " 

"Foolstuff!" growled Middleton, turning his eye on 

" — For your soul's good and your e3^es' comfort," con- 
tinued the Lieutenant placidly. " For they do say, Larry, 
that he preaches to the prettiest lot of unrepentant, stony- 
hearted, fair rebels that ever combined the love of Heaven 
with the hatred of their fellow-mortals. You are running 
to waste, Larry, and I must utilize you." 

" Jackass ! " muttered Middleton, but he looked at 
Thurston, who smoked solemnly. 

"For they say, Larry, there's going to be a dancing- 
party, and we must be there, you know." 


Middleton's face, whicli had begun to clear np, clouded 

" What's the good of it ? Not one of 'em would speak 
to us. I met one just now — and she looked at me — they 
all look at me, or by me — as if I were a snake ! " 

" As you are, Larry — a snake in the grass," interjected 
the little Lieutenant. " Pretty ? " 

''As a peach — Can't you be serious a minute?" — for 
Thurston's eyes were twinkling. " Every one looks as if 
she hated me." 

"As they ought to, Larry; for you're their enemy." 
Thurston settled back with his pipe between his lips, and 
chuckled to himself. " You ought to see the way they 
look at me, Larry. I know you, Alexander. You're not 
satisfied with your success with Miss Ruth, and Miss Eock- 
field, and every other girl in the North, but you must 
conquer other worlds ; and you sigh because they don't 
capitulate as soon as they see your advance-guard." 

" Don't be an ass, Thurs ! " Middleton interrupted. 
'' You know as well as I, that I never said a word to Euth 
Welch in my life — or thought of doing so. When her 
father was wounded so badly, it happened that I had a 
scratch too, and I saw something more of her than I other- 
wise should have done, and that is all there is about it. 
Besides, we are cousins, and you know how that is. Her 
mother would have seen me in perdition before she would 
have consented to anything between us ; and as to Edith 
Eockfield " 

But the little Lieutenant did not care about Miss Eock- 
field. It was Miss Welch he was interested in. So he 
cut in, breaking into a snatch of a song : 

" Sure, Kate Riley she's me cousin. 
Harry, I have cousins too ; 
If ye like such close relations, 
I have cousins close as you." 

He slipped down farther in his chair, his heels up on 
the table, and his hands clasped above his curly head. 


" If you don't stop that howling, old Mrs. Dockett will 
come and turn you out again," growled Middleton. 

*"■■ Not me, Larry, my dear. I can warble all I like now. 
Fm promoted." 

''Promoted! How?" 

" Don't you see I sit next to the butter, now ? " 

'■' Fool I — But I'm used to being treated with a reason- 
able degree of civility ; " Middleton went on, as if he had 
not been interrupted, " and I've put myself out more to 
be polite here than I ever did in my life, and yet, by Jove ! 
these little vixens turn up their noses at me as if — as if — 
Why, they look as if they felt about me precisely as I 
feel about Leech ! " 

He looked out of the window gloomily, and his friend 
watched him for a moment with an amused expression in 
his blue eyes. 

** Larry, they don't know what great men we are, do 
they ? You know that's one of the things that has always 
struck me ? I wonder how girls can have such a good 
time when they don't know me. I suppose it's the 
ignorance of the poor young things ! But they shall 
know me and you, too. We'll give the girls a treat next 
Sunday ; we'll go to church, and later to the ball." 

" Church ! You go to church ! " 

The Captain turned his head and looked at his friend 
with such blank amazement that the Lieutenant actually 

"Yes," he nodded. "You d d Pharisee I — you 

think you are the only one that knows anything about 
church, because . that little gir — cousin of yours — con- 
verted you ; you're nothing but a Dissenter anyhow. But 
I'm a churchman, I am. I've got a prayer-book — some- 
where — and I've found out all about the church here. 
There's an old preacher in the county, named Longstuff or 
Langstuff or something, and he preaches once a month at 
the old church eight or ten miles above here,, where they 
say all the pretty girls in the country congregate to pray 


for the salvation of Jeff Davis and the d nation of the 

Yankees — poor misguided, lovely creatures that they are I 
— as if we weren^t certain enough of it anyhow, without 
their making it a subject of their special petition. I'm go- 
ing to have a look at 'em. We'll have our trappings rubbed 
up, and I'll coach your dissenting, condemned soul on the 
proper church tactics, and we'll have the handsomest pair 
of horses in the county and show 'em as fine a j^air of true- 
riding, pious young Yanks as ever charged into a pretty 
girl's heart. We'll dodge Leech and go in as churchmen. 
That's one place he's not likely to follow us. What do 
you say ? Oh, I've got a great head on me ! I'll be a 
general some day ! " 

" If you don't get it knocked off for your impudence," 
suggested Middleton. 

So the equij^ments were burnished up ; the horses were 
carefully groomed ; the uniforms were brushed and pressed 
afiesh, and when Sunday morning came, the two young offi- 
cers, having dodged Leech, who had been trying all the 
week to find out what was on foot, rode off, in full and daz- 
zling panoply, like conquering young heroes, to impress, at 
least, the fairer portion of their " subjects," as Thurston 
called them. They were, in fact, a showy pair as they 
rode along, for both men were capital horsemen, little 
Thurston looking at least a foot higher on his tall bay 
than when lifted only by his own short, plump legs ; and 
on their arrival at church, which they purposely timed to 
occur after the services should have begun, they felt that 
they could not have been more effective. 

The contrast between them and the rest of the assem- 
blage was striking. The grove about the church was well 
filled with animals and vehicles ; but all having a worn 
and shabby appearance : thin horses and mules, and rick- 
ety wagons, with here and there an old carriage standing 
out among them, like old gentlemen at a county gatlier- 
ing. A group of men under one of the trees turned and 
gazed curiously at the pair as tliey rode up and tied their 


showy horses to "swinging limbs," and then strode si- 
lently toward the church, where the sound of a chant, 
not badly rendered, told that the services were already be- 

The entrance of the blue-coats created quite as much of 
a sensation as they could have expected, even if the signs 
of it were, perhaps, not quite as apparent as they had an- 
ticipated, and they marched to a vacant seat, feeling very 
hot and by no means as effective as they had proposed to 
do. Little Thurston droj^ped down on his knees and bowed 
his head, and Middleton, with a new feeling of Thurston's 
superior genius, followed his ^' tactics." 

This was good generalship, for no one could know that 
the two young reprobates were mopping their perspiring 
faces and setting every button straight, instead of being 
bowed in reverential devotion. No one entered their pew, 
and they were left alone. Several who came in the church 
after them, and might have turned to their pew, on seeing 
the blue uniforms, passed by with what looked very like a 
toss of the head. But what Thurston called his "straight 
flush "was when he drew out his prayer-book — which he 
had found " somewhere " — and began to follow the ser- 
vice, in a distinctly reverential voice. 

As many eyes were bent on them at this as had been 
directed to them when they first appeared, and Miss 
Thomasia, adjusting her spectacles to satisfy herself beyond 
doubt if her eyes were not deceiving her, dropped them on 
the floor and cracked one of the glasses. For the idea of 
a Yankee soldier using a prayer-book had never occurred 
to any female member of that congregation any more than 
it had that a certain distinguished being used it, popularly 
supposed to be also clad in blue uniform, of sulphurous 
flame. The favorable impression made by this move was 
apparent to the young men, and Middleton stepped on 
Thurston's toe, so heavily as almost to make him swear with 
pain, trying at once to convey his admiration and to call 
Thurston's attention to a very pretty young girl in the 


choir, wliose eyes liappeiied to fall that way, and whom he 
indicated as Miss Carj. Steve Allen was with her now, 
singing out of the same book with her, as if he had never 
thrown a card or taken a drink in his life. 

The self-gratulation of the two officers was, however, 
of brief duration. The next moment there was a heavy 
tread and a sabre-clatter behind them, and turning with 
the rest of the congregation to look, there was Leech 
stalking up the aisle. He made directly toward the 
officers, and had Middleton been at the entrance of the 
pew he might, perhaps, in the frame of mind into which 
the sight threw him, have openly refused the new-comer 
admittance. Thurston, however, was nearer the entrance, 
and nothing of the kind occurred, lie simply moved down 
to the door of the pew, and was so deeply immersed in his 
devotions at that particular instant, that even the actual 
pressure of Leech's hand on his arm failed to arouse him, 
and the Provost, after standing a moment waiting for him 
to move, stepped into a pew behind, and sat down in the 
corner by himself. 

The change in sentiment created by the Provost's ap- 
pearance was strong enough actually to be felt by the 
young men, and Middleton looked in Thurston's eyes with 
such helpless rage in his own that the little Lieutenant 
almost burst out laughing, and had to drop his jirayer- 
book and stoop for it to compose himself. 

Still the congregation was mystified. It was pretty gen- 
erally supposed that it was not mere piety which brought 
the yonng officers there. Some thought it was to insult 
them ; some to show off their fine horses — some suggested 
that it was to watch and report on their old rector, the Eev. 
Mr. Langstaff, one of the best and Godliest of men, whose 
ardor as a Confederate was only equalled by his zeal as a 
Christian. But Steve Allen — speaking with the oracular 
wisdom of a seer, who, in addition to his prophetic power, 
has also been behind the scenes — declared that they had 
come to look at the pretty girls, and further avowed that 


he didn't blame them, because there were the prettiest 
girls in the world, right in that church, and, as for him, 
lie was ready to walk right up, on the spot, with any one of 
them, from Miss Thomasia to Miss Blair, and Mr. Lang- 
staff could settle the whole matter for them, in five min- 
utes. Though, of course, he added, if General Legale had 
any preference, he himself would waive his privilege (as 
having spoken first) and let the General lead the way, as 
he had often done before on occasion. To which proposal, 
made in the aisle after church, when the weekly levee was 
held, the General responded that he was ''quite ready to 
lead so gallant a subaltern, if Miss — " his eye souglit 
Miss Thomasia's placid face — " ah ! if — any lady could be 
found," etc. 

Steve was right — he very often was, though frequently he 
concealed his wisdom in an envelope of nonsense. 

It was conceded after the young officers had ridden away, 
that they had '' acted decently enough, but for those odious 
blue uniforms," and had showed no sign beyond nudg- 
ing each other when Mr. Langstaff prayed for the Presi- 
dent of the Confederate States, with an unction only 
equalled by the fervor with which the entire congregation 
had responded ''Amen" — at least, that the first two of 
them had showed no sign. The third, however, had proved 
what they were. To be sure, he had come after the others, 
and they had evidently tried to make it appear as if they 
wished to avoid recognizing him, and had gone away alone. 
But what did that prove ? Were they not all alike ? And 
even if the Provost had sat in a pew by himself, and did 
not have .a uniform exactly like the others, he had never 
even bowed during the prayers, but had sat bolt upright 
throughout the whole service, staring around. And when 
the President was prayed for, had he not scowled and en- 
deavored to touch his companions ? What if they had 
appeared to ignore him ? Might not this be all a part of 
their scheme ? And, as someone said, "when the hounds 
were all in a huddle, you could not tell a good dog from 


a bad one." This simile was consitlereJ good by most of 
the male members of the congregation ; but there were 
dissenters. Mrs. Gray remembered that those two young 
men sent Jacquelin home the day he arrived ; and the 
General remembered the civility of one of them in the 
performance of a most disagreeable duty ; Miss Thomasia 
recalled the closely followed prayer-book, and some of the 
other ladies objected to hunting similes at church. 

However, when, after service, the two young officers 
left the church and marched straight to their horses, even 
without the presence of Leech to offend them — for they 
had clearly told him they did not wish his company — 
they were far less composed than their martial mien and 
jingling spurs might have appeared to indicate. 



The absence of all civil government and the disorgani- 
zation of the plantations Avere producing great inconven- 
ience. Much thieving was going on everywhere, and there 
was beginning to be an unwonted amount of lawlessness : 
sheep and hogs were being stolen, and even horses and 
cattle. Dr. Gary and Mr. Bagby united with some 
others of the more conciliatory men in the State, to re- 
quest the establishment of some form of government, and 
a sort of provisional civil government was shortly estab- 
lished in the country. Mr. Dockett was appointed Clerk 
of the county. Dr. Gary was commissioned a magistrate 
in his district, and, at his solicitation, Andy Stamper was 
appointed constable. 

Meanwhile, Steve Allen had become the most promi- 
nent citizen of the county seat. He had taken an old 
building in one corner of the court-green, and his office 
soon became the most popular place of resort in the 
village, for the young men. It was rumored that some- 
thing other than law was practised in Steve's office, and 
the lights often burned till daybreak, and shouts of 
laughter came through the open windows. Stories got 
abroad of poker-parties held there in the late hours of the 
summer nights. Neither Middleton nor Thurston had 
ever been invited there, for Steve still held himself stiffly 
with the two officers, but an incident occurred which sud- 
denly broke down the barrier. 



Steve liad never taken the oath of allegiance. This was 
not known at the time of his arrival at the court-house, and 
he had started in to practise law, and had gone on without 
any question as to it ever being raised, until Still notified 
Leech. " If you could git up a row between him and your 
young man, Middleton," said he, " you might get rid of 
one euem}^ maybe two ; for, I tell you, he won't stand no 
foolin'. Make Middleton make him take the oath. I 
don't believe he'll do it — I b'lieve he'll go away first." 
Leech summoned Steve to exhibit his parole; and on his 
failing to obey, laid the matter before jMiddleton. 

When Leech disclosed the object of his visit, Thurston 
was lounging in an armchair, with his pipe. He started 
up. Was it possible that such a flagrant violation of the 
law had been going on ? He gazed at the Provost blandly. 

" It was and is," said Leech, sententiously. " This man 
never misses an opportunity to treat the Government and 
its representatives with contempt." 

"I have heard so," said Thurston, adopting Leech's 
tone. " I have heard that he has even said that some of 
the representatives of the Government were a stench in 
their own nostrils," 

Leech winced and glanced at Thurston ; but he was as 
innocent as a dove. 

'^ It is time to make an example of him," proceeded the 
Lieutenant, still apparently arguing with his superior. 
^' And I think it would be well to have him brought up at 
once and the most rigid oath administered to him. Why 
should not Lieutenant Leech administer it ? I should 
like to see him do it, and he might take occasion to read 
Captain Allen a sound homily on his duties as a citizen of 
this great Republic and his cause for gratitude. It might 
lead him to mend the error of his ways." 

Nothing could have been more pleasing to Leech. He 
jumped at the proposal, and said he would give this young 
rebel a lecture that he would not soon forget, and if he 
refused to take the oath would clap him in jail. Middle- 


ton assented and that evening was set for the ceremony, 
and Middleton and Thurston said they would go down and 
see the oath administered. 

That evening Steve was. surprised to find his office-door 
suddenly darkened by a squad of soldiers who had come to 
arrest him and take him before the Provost. 

" What is it for ? " Arrests by the Provost were not un- 

"To take the oath." 

There was a laugh at Steve's expense ; for it was known 
by his friends that he prided himself on not having yet 
sworn allegiance to the Government. 

" Go and take your medicine, and pay me that little 
fiver you bet you would not take it this month," said Mc- 
Raffle, with a half sneer. 

" I'll credit it on one of your I U's," said Steve, dryly. 

He was marched across to the Provost's office, his 
friends following to see the issue. Just as they arrived, 
Middleton and Thurston came in, looking a little sheepish 
when they found, as the result of their conspiracy, Steve 
guarded by a file of men. Leech took out a box of good 
cigars and offered them to the officers. He did not offer 
them to anyone else, but laid them on the table, and 
with a rap for silence, began his homily. He made it 
strong and long. He dwelt with particular emphasis on 
the beneficence of a Government that, after a wicked re- 
bellion, permitted rebels to return to their allegiance and 
receive again all the benefits of the Union — becoming, in- 
deed, one with her other citizens. This concluded, he 
tendered Steve the oath. Everyone present, perhaps, ex- 
pected Steve to refuse to take it. Instead of which, he 
took it without a word. There was a moment of breath- 
less silence. 

"I understand then that we are, so to speak, now one?" 
said Steve, drawlingly. 

" Ah ! yes," said Leech, turning away to try to hide his 
surprise from Thurston. 


"Then, gentlemen, have some of our cigars?" Steve 
took up the box, lit a cigar himself and coolly handed them 

As he offered them to Thurston the little Lieutenant 
said : 

" Captain, the honors are yours." 

The next moment Steve tossed his cigar contemptuously 
out of the door. 

" Come over to my office, gentlemen ; I have a box that 
a gentleman has sent me. I think they will have a bet- 
ter flavor than these. Good-evening, Lieutenant Leecli. 
Will you join us, gentlemen ?" Tliis was to Middleton 
and Thurston, and the invitation was accepted. 

They adjourned to Steve's "law-office," where they pro- 
ceeded to while away the hours in a manner which has 
sweetened, if not made, many an armistice. Fortune 
from the start perched herself on Steve's side as if to try 
and compensate him for other and greater reverses ; and 
at last little Thurston, having lost the best part of a 
month's pay, said that if Leech's cigars were not as good 
as Steve's, they were, at least, less expensive. 

" You fellows don't know any more about poker than you 
do about joking," said Steve, imperturbably, as lie raked 
in a pot. "If I'd known about this before, I wouldn't 
have taken that oath. I'd have done like McRaffle there. 
This is too easy." 

" You play just as much as I do," said McEaffle, quickly. 

"Yes; but in more select company." Steve said qui- 
etly. "Not with boys." 

McRaffle's cold face flushed slightly, and he started to 
reply, but glanced quickly round the table and reconsid- 
ered. Steve was placidly shuffling the cards. 

No man likes to have his poker-game assailed, and Mid- 
dleton and Thurston were no exceptions. 

"You're outclassed, Captain," said Steve. "I'd be 
riding that whitefoot bay of yours in a week, if you played 
with me." 


" Make a jackpot and I'll give yon a chance," said Mid- 
dleton, firing np. 

Steve, as the winner, was not in a position to stop. The 
others had warmed np. 

'' Yes — make it a jackpot, and let that decide which is 
the higgest blower," laughed someone. 

Steve dealt and Middleton looked pleased, as he well 
might. None of the others had more than a pair, and 
tliey passed out. Steve had three hearts and a pair. He 
was about to throw the cards down when he caught Mid- 
dleton's look of content, and hesitated. 

" Come in," laughed Middleton. 

Steve's fingers tightened on his cards, and Middleton 
discarded two, showing that he held three of a kind. ^ 

" Fve got you beat," he said. 

'' Beat ? I tell you, you don't know the game," said 
Steve, airily. He coolly discarded his pair. 

*' I don't ? I'll bet you a hundred dollars, I've got you 

Steve picked up two cards. "I'll see you and raise 
you," said he. " I bet you five hundred against your 
whitefoot horse you haven't." 

" Done," said Middleton. 

" Keep your horse, boy," said Steve. '' I was the best 
poker player in my brigade." He leaned over to put his 
cards down. But Middleton was game and was ahead of 

'' It's a bet," he said, laying his hand on the table. 
There was a sigh from the others : he had three aces. 

Steve laid his beside them, and there was a shout. He 
had drawn a flush. 

'' Now I'll buy the horse back from you, if you wish 
it?" said Middleton. 

" Thank you. I've promised him to a lady," said Steve. 

Next day Steve rode his new horse to Birdwood and, 
with a twinkle in his eyes, oiiered him to Blair. 

" How did you get him ?" asked the girl. 


"Captured him/' laughed Steve. "Tell your friend 
not to play poker with me — or McRaffle," he added. 

Blair's eyes flashed and she attacked Steve vigorously. 
She would not have him offering to j) resent her a part of 
his gaming-winnings. He was becoming a scandal to the 
neighborhood ; leading the young men off. 

"Young Larry, for instance?" smiled Steve. "Or 
Captain McRaffle?" 

"No. You know very v/ell whom I mean," declared 
Blair. " Rupert thinks it fine to imitate you," The smile 
was still on Steve's face, and Blair paused to take breath ; 
then half closing her eyes as if she were sighting care- 
fully — "And coujiles your name with Captain McRaf- 
fle's," she added. 

A light of satisfaction came into her eyes as she saw 
the shaft go home. A deeper hue reddened Steve's sun- 
browned face. 

"Who was the young lady who bet me not long 
ago, against that very horse, that she would not dance 
with a certain Yankee Captain ? Where's her pious ex- 
ample ?" 

Blair's face flushed. " I did wrong. But I did not ex- 
pect you. Captain Allen who prides himself on his chiv- 
alry, to shelter himself behind a girl." She bowed low, 
and turned away in apparent disdain, enjoying the success 
of her shot. 

Just at that moment Miss Thomasia joined them. 

" What are you two quarrelling about ? " The next mo- 
ment she glanced at Steve and a troubled look came into 
her eyes. 

"Nothing. We aren't quarrelling, are we Blair?" 
Steve held out his hand in sign of peace. 

" Yes. Steve has just charged " 

Steve began to make signs to Blair. 

" — Steve has just charged," proceeded Miss Blair, ignor- 
ing his efforts to stop her, " that all his shortcomings are 
due to the example set him by a Avoman." 


"^ They all do it, my dear, from Adam down/' said Miss 
Thomasia, placidly. 

Her sex was to be defended even against her idol. 

" There/' said Blair, triumphantly to Steve. 

" It's a stock phrase," said Steve. "'And what I'd like 
to know is, did not Adam tell the truth ? " 

" Yes, the coward ! he did. And I've no doubt he tried 
to keep poor Eve between him and the angel's sword. 
Now you, at least be as brave as he, and tell Cousin Tho- 
masia the truth and see what she says." 

Once more Steve began to signal Blair. But Miss Tho- 
masia herself came to his rescue. Perhaps, she wanted to 
save him. She began to ask about Ruj)ert. She was evi- 
dently anxious about the boy. 

Whether it was because of what Blair said about Rupert, 
or because of the look of distress that came in Miss 
Thomasia's eyes at the mention of the story of Steve's 
playing, Steve had an interview with Captain Middleton 
shortly afterward, and, as a result, when he told him the 
dilemma in which he found himself, the horse went back 
into Middleton's possession, until Middleton left the 
county, when he became Steve's by purchase. 

As time went on, a shadow began to fall between 
Jacquelin and the sun. Steve was in love with Blair. 
Steve was always with her ; his name was always on her 
lips, and hers frequently on his. She rode his horse : and 
he often came to Red Rock with her. And as Jacquelin 
Avatched, he knew he had no chance. It cut deeper than 
anyone ever knew ; but Jacquelin fought it out and Avon. 
He would not let it come between him and Steve. Steve 
had always been like a brother. He would still love Blair. 
This was not forbidden him. * Xot every knight always Avon 
his great love. It was the loyalty, not the success, that was 
knightly. If she loved Steve, he could make her happier than 
Jacquelin himself ever could have done. And Jacquelin, 
if God gave him power, would rejoice with them in time. 

The preparations for the contemplated entertainment 


for the benefit of the poor wounded Confederate soldiers 
in the county were already begun. It was to be given at 
Eed Rock, and the managers waited only for Jacquelin 
to recover somewhat from a set-back he had had after 
his meeting with Leech at Dr. Gary's. Blair Gary had 
offers from at least a dozen escorts ; but Steve was the 
fortunate contestant. Miss Dockett was so much inter- 
ested in her preparations that the two lodgers caught 
the fever, and found themselves in the position of ad- 
mirers and part advisers as to a costume for an enter- 
tainment to which they were not considered good enough 
to be invited. Little Thurston had to purchase a part 
of it in the city, where he went on a visit, and, truth 
to tell, finding that the small amount entrusted to him 
— which was all that could be got together even by 
Mrs. Dockett's diligence, stimulated by her natural pride 
in her daughter's first ball — was not sufficient to purchase 
material as fine as he thought suited to adorn the plumj) 
person of a young lady who had condescended to warble 
with him, he added to it a small sum from his own by no 
means over-plethoric j^ocket, and then lied about it after- 
ward like a trooper and a gentleman. 

" Well, I always heard a Yankee was a good hand at a 
bargain," declared Mrs. Dockett ; '^but you are the best. I 
ever knew." And this was Thurston's reward. 

The officers had given up hope of being invited to the 
assembly, when one evening two formal notes, requesting 
their company, were brought by Steve's boy Jerry. They 
were signed simjDly, " The Gommittee." 

''And now," said Middleton, ''we're in a bigger hole 
than before ; for it's for the benefit of the rebels ; and if 
that gets out — But, perhaps it will not?" 

" Gets out ? Of course it will get out. Everything one 
doesn't want to get out, gets out ; but yet we must go. 
Does not our high sense of duty require us to sacrifice our 
personal prejudices so far as to keej? an eye on this first 
large assemblage of rebels ?" 


*' Eeely, yon^'e a genius/' said Middleton, in open ad- 

" Of course I am," was the Lieutenant's modest reply. 

■ Formal notes of acceptance were sent, and the two young 
officers were soon as busy as anyone making their prepai'a- 
tions for their "summer campaign/'' as Thurston called it. 
Both ordered new boots, and Thurston a whole suit, for the 
occasion. Thurston, in the seclusion of their room, drilled 
Middleton sedulously in the Old Virginia reel, so as to as- 
tonish the native and, as he profanely termed it, " make 
sure of the caj^ture of the fish Middleton had found in the 

An evening or two later, the mail was brought in, and in 
it were two official letters for Middleton. As he read them, 
his face fell, and he flung them across to Thurston, who, 
as he glanced at them, gave an ejaculation hardly consist- 
ent with the high-church principles he so proudly vaunted. 

One was an order forbidding, for the present, all public 
gatherings at night, under any guise whatever, except in 
churches; the other forbade the wearing of any Confederate 
uniform or garment forming part of a uniform, or, at least 
(as persons might not have any other clothes whatever), 
brass buttons, braid, chevrons, etc., which were the insignia 
.of a uniform. These were to be cut off or covered. These 
were general orders, and the officers in command stationed 
throughout the country were directed to see them enforced. 

"This comes of having a d — d tailor for President," said 
the little Lieutenant. " I always did hate 'em ; and to 
think I've ordered a new uniform for it too ! Your wed- 
ding, Larry, will not come oS as soon as I anticipated. 
Well, there's one consolation ; one tailor will have to wait 
some time." 

This view appeared to please the Lieutenant so much that, 
as he glanced over the orders again, he began to whistle, 
while the Captain looked on despondently. The whis- 
tling grew louder as Thurston read on^ and he suddenly 
bounced up. 


** Fve got it, Larry. Are yon a Mason ? '* 

*' No. Why ? " 

" Oh ! Nothing — I was just tliinking of that old Masonic 
lodge where the chaplain preached and Leech led in prayer. 
You issue your orders — and leave me to manage it : this 
tailoring part is what's going to play the deuce. I can 
settle the other — I'm a churchman — I ought to have been 
a bishop." 

As Thurston foresaw, it was the order touching the uni- 
forms which gave the greatest offence, and in the indigna- 
tion which this aroused, the other was almost lost sight of. 
It was intended to show the negroes, the old residents said, 
that the Southerners were completely in subjection to the 
Federal authorities. Which view gained some ground 
from the fact that the orders were issued by Leech, who 
appeared to be charged with their enforcement. 

'The next day there was a storm in the county. 

The little General made old Julius burnish up his but- 
tons until they shone like gold, and then rode into the vil- 
lage to interview the officer in command. He was stoj^ped 
on the street by Leech, and was ordered to cut them off 
immediately if he did not wish him to do it for him, on 
which the gallant old Confederate stated to that functionary 
as placidly as he might have returned an answer to Miss 
Thomasia on the subject of roses, that if Leech so much as 
attempted to lay his hand on him, he would kill him im- 
mediately ; and the look in his eyes was so resolute and 
so piercing that Leech, who supposed from this that he 
was fully armed, slunk away to secure a squad of soldiers 
to enforce his order. The General rode serenely on to 
find Middleton. No one was present at the interview. 
But it became known afterward that the General had 
begun by an intimation that he was ready to renew his 
polite offer of the pair of duelling pistols to Captain 
Middleton, if the Captain wished to give a gentleman who 
found himself temporarily in a somewliat embarrassing 
position, a gentleman's satisfaction ; and that he had come 


away, not, indeed, with this satisfaction, but, at least, with 
renewed esteem for the young men, whom he continued to 
speak of as ''most gentlemanly young fellows"; and he 
covered his buttons with cloth. 

Steve Allen let Miss Thomasia cover his Avith crepe, 
and having led Leech into questioning him as to the rea- 
son for this, said that it was mourning because a certain 
cowardly hound had only barked at Mammy Krenda one 
day, instead of attempting to touch her, and giving her 
the opportunity to cut the skin from him. Dr. Gary 
found his buttons cut off by Mrs. Gary and Miss Blair — 
" to jDrevent," Blair said, " their being defiled by sacri- 
legious hands." 

Jacquelin Gray was at this time confined to his lounge, 
by his wound ; but it had this drop of consolation for his 
mother and Aunt Thomasia, that so long as he stayed 
there he could not be subjected to what others underwent. 
They reckoned, however, without their host. 

One afternoon Leech rode into the Eed Eock yard with a 
squad of soldiers at his back, and riding across the grass 
to the ver^ door, dismounted and stamped up the steps, 
and, without waiting for an answer to his loud rap, 
stalked into the hall, with his men behind him. Where he 
had come from no one knew ; for he had ridden in the 
back way. It transpired afterwards that he had stopped 
for a minute at the overseer's house. 

At the moment Leech appeared in the hall, Jacque- 
lin was lying on his lounge, with Blair Gary and Rupert 
sitting beside him, and the first he knew of the Provost's 
presence was when Blair, with an exclamation, sprang to 
her feet. He turned and faced Leech as he entered the 
hall. The Provost appeared dazed by the scene before 
him ; for scores of eyes were fastened on him from the 
walls, and he stood for a moment rooted to the spot, 
with his gaze fixed on the face of the " Indian-killer " 
over the big fireplace. That strange embodiment of fierce 
resolve seemed almost to appal him. The next instant. 


with a gesture, he came forward to where Jacquelin lay. 
At the same moment Blair retired to seek Mrs. Gray and 
Miss Thomasia. Leeches eyes followed her as she went out. 

"Well, sir, what do you want?" Jacquelin asked, 

" Take off your coat.'' 

It was the form of order given to negroes when they 
were to be thrashed. Jacquelin's face flushed. 

" What for ?" 

" Because if you don't, I'll take it off for you. I mean 
to cut these buttons off." 

"You can cut them off." Jacquelin had grown quiet, 
and his face was white. Eupert drew nearer to him, his 
cheeks flushed and his breath coming quickly. 

" I guess I can," sneered the Provost. He came up to 
the lounge, pushing Rupert aside, who interjjosed between 
them. He leaned over and cut the buttons from the 
jacket, one by one. 

"I'll send these to my girl," he said, tauntingly — " Un- 
less you want them for yours," he added, with a meaning 
laugh. Jacquelin controlled himself to speak quietly. 

" Tell your master that some day I will call him to ac- 
count for this outrage." 

" Young puppies bark, but don't bite," sneered the 

In an instant Rupert was on him, and, boy as he was, 
he struck the Provost a blow wiiich, taking him unawares, 
staggered him. Leech recovered himself, however, and seiz- 
ing the boy, slapped him furiously several times. Jacque- 
lin was on his feet in a moment. He sprang toward the 
Provost, but the men interposed, and he sank back on his 
lounge, breathless and white, 

" Hound, for that I will some day make a negro whip 
you within an inch of your life," he said, beside himself. 

Leech grinned in triumph and, walking up, leant over 
him officiously, as though to see if there were still any 
buttons left. 


As he did so, Jacqiielin raised himself and slapped him 
across the face. Leech with an oath sprang back and 
jerked out a pistol ; and possibly but for an accident 
which gave time for the intervention of his men, Jacque- 
lin Gray^s career would have ended then. 

He looked so cool, however, and withal so handsome 
and intrepid as he lay back and gazed into Leech's eyes, 
denouncing him fiercely and daring him to shoot, that 
Leech hesitated and turned toward his men for encourage- 
ment. x\s he did so, the door opened hastily and a curi- 
ous thing happened. The great full-length portrait over 
the big fireplace, loosened, perhaps, by the scuffle with 
Rupert, or by the jar of the door as Mrs. Gray and Miss 
Thomasia, entered, slipj^ed in its frame and at the moment 
that Leech turned, fell forward, sending the Provost 
staggering back among his startled men. When Leech 
recovered, his men interfered. They were not ready to see 
a man murdered before his mother. Baffled in this, the 
Provost determined on another revenge. He swore he 
would have Jacquelin hanged, and made his men take him 
out and put him on a horse. Jacquelin was unable to sit 
in the saddle, and fell off in a faint. At this moment 
Hiram Still, whom Mrs. Gray had summoned, came up 
and interposed. At first, the Provost was not amenable 
even to Still's expostulations ; but at length he pressed 
a wagon and had Jacquelin put in it, and hauled him off 
to the court-house, to jail, still swearing he would have him 
hanged. Mrs. Gray, having sent off by Blair in hot haste 
for Dr. Gary to follow her, directed Still to replace the 
picture, 'ordered her carriage, and, without waiting, set 
out for the court-house, accompanied by Miss Thomasia 
and Rupert. 

They had hardly left when Still went into the house to 
set the picture back in its place. It was surrounded by a 
group of curious, half -frightened servants who, with awe, 
alternately gazed on it and on the yawning hole in the 
wall, making comments, full of foreboding. Still sent 


them all off except Doan, whom he kept to help him set 
the picture back in place. It was necessary to get up on a 
chair and lean half way in the hole and examine the 
sides where the nails were to be driven, and this Still did 
himself, making an examination of the entire recess, even 
moving a number of bundles of old papers. 

" Ah ! " he said, with a deep inspiration, as he ran his 
eye over one bundle, which he laid off to one side. He 
sent Doan out to get him some long nails, for, as he ex- 
plained, he meant now to nail the picture np to stand till 
judgment day. The negro went with a mutter, half timid, 
half jest, that he wouldn't stay in that hole by himself not 
for the whole Red Eock ^ilantation and every mule on it. 
While he was absent Still was not idle. Doan had no 
sooner disappeared than the manager seized the bundle of 
papers he had laid to one side, and, hastily cutting the 
string which bound it, extracted several papers. 

" I thought I remembered which one it was in," he 
murmured. "^I didn't know when it was put in here as 
I'd ever git hold of it again." He held the papers up so 
as to get the light over his shoulder on them. 

" Yes, that's the big bond with the paint on it, payable 
to me. I thought 'twa'n't cancelled." 

He was so busy with the papers that he did not see the 
faces, outside the window, pressed against the pane, or 
hear Doan enter, and did not know he had returned until 
his shadow fell across the hearth. lie slij^ped the papers 
in his pocket so hastily that one of them fell out and 
would have fluttered down on the floor had he not caught 
it. He turned on the negro : 

" How did you come in, fool ? " he asked, with a start, 
as he rammed the paper back in his pocket. 

" I come in by de do'," said Doan, sullenly. 

The portrait was soon nailed back, this time Still driving 
the nails in to make sure they wouldn't come out again. 

Meanwhile the ladies were making tlieir way to the 
court-house. It was quite dusk when they reached the 


comity seat and, to tbeir surprise, the wagon had not 
yet arrived. Miss Tlioniasia was in great distress over 
it, and was sure that Leech had executed his threat 
against Jacquelin. But Mrs. Gary, though much disturbed, 
thought that more probably they had taken another road 
and had travelled more slowly. This, indeed, proved to 
be the case, and some hours later. Leech and his prisoner 
turned uj). 

Mrs. Gray had not been idle. On reaching the court- 
house she sent at once for General Legale, and drove to 
Mrs. Dockett^s, where she knew the commanding officer 
had his quarters. There she found the family at supper, 
and it may be safely asserted that no meal was ever more 
unceremoniously interrupted. Mrs. Dockett no sooner 
heard Mrs. Gray's name, than she left the table and went 
to receive her, and having in the first two minutes learned 
the cause of her visit, she swept back into the dining- 
room and swooped down on the two young officers, with a 
volubility which, at least, terminated the meal, and looked 
for a little while as if it w^ould also terminate the relation 
of hostess and guest. She announced that Leech had 
broken into Mrs. Gray's house, assaulted her son, and 
finally dragged him from his dying bed and, no doubt, had 
murdered him in the woods. And she summoned the two 
officers to assert immediately their authority and execute 
summary justice on the Provost, if they ever wished to eat 
another meal under her roof. Not that j\rrs. Dockett 
really took the view that Miss Thomasia took, for outside, 
she had already reassured Mrs. Gray, giving her calmly 
most excellent reasons to show that Leech would never 
dare to injure her son. But she felt that she had a war- 
rant for this lurid picture in Miss Thomasia's forebodings, 
and she could not resist the pleasure of presenting it in 
all its blackness. Fortunately, Middleton, with his quiet 
manner, could, when he chose, be impressive enough. 
He listened to Mrs. Gray's statement calmly ; was very 
grave, but very polite to her, and though he did not 


promise to release her son, or indicate what would be done 
in the matter, he assured her that Jacquelin should have 
proper treatment on his arrival, and promised that she 
should have access to him. 

Suddenly Eupert, who had been crying on the way down 
whenever he could do so unobserved, stepped forward from 
behind his mother, where he had been standing. 

" I struck him first, and I am the one to hang, not my 
brother." His face which had been red when he began, 
paled suddenly, and his lip quivered a little ; but his head 
was held straight and his eyes were steady and were filled 
with light. 

Mrs. Gray started to speak ; but her voice trembled and 
failed her, and she could only hold out her hand to the 
boy. Middleton's eyes softened. 

" No one will be hanged," he said. Then added, grave- 
ly : " But you shouldn't have struck him." 

" He called my brother a puppy," said the boy, defiantly, 
his eyes flashing, " and I'll let no one do that — not you, 
nor anyone." 

That night Thurston said to Middleton : 

" Gad, Larry, I said I ought to be a bishop, but yon 
ought to be one — the way you preached to that boy, and 
I'd give a thousand dollars for him." 

" I wish you were Captain," growled Middleton. 

"He looked like a little game-cock, didn't he ? " 

When the prisoner arrived, about midnight, under his 
guard, everything was found ready for his reception, and 
his mother was detailed to nurse him, to which, probably, 
was due the failure of Leech's and one other's ]3lan. 



The ronghness of the treatment Jacquelin had received 
at Leech's hands caused his wound to break out afresh, and 
for a time lie was seriously ill. But he had some compen- 
sations. Every girl in the neighborhood deemed him her 
especial favorite and charge. And from time to time, in 
the door Avalked, floated, or entered somehow, a goddess ; 
and with her came heaven. Her entrance was always a 
miracle ; she lit up the room, radiance took the place of 
gloom ; the racked nerves found a sudden anodyne, and in 
the mere joy of her presence, Jacquelin forgot that he was 
crippled. She read to him, sat by him, soothed him, 
talked with him, sympathized with him, turned darkness 
into light, and pain, at least, into fortitude. How divinely 
tender her eyes could grow as some sudden paroxysm 
wrung his nerves, and brought a flush to his wan cheek ! 
How solicitous was her voice ! How soft her touch ! And 
how much she knew ! As much as Aunt Thomasia ! How 
could a young girl have read so much ! It stimulated 
Jacquelin, and he began to emulate her, as in old days, 
until reading became a habit. 

Under these influences Jacquelin actually began to get 

Middleton passed by one evening and saw the young girl 
sitting on the rose-bowered veranda, by Jacquelin's lounge, 
reading to him. The soft cadences of a charming voice 
were borne to him murmurously. A strange pang of loneli- 
ness shot through him. That far-away visit in the past 
seemed to rise up before him, and the long years were sud- 



denly obliterated. He was back, a visitor at a beautiful 
old coiuitrj - place, where joy and hospitality reigned. 
Jacquelin was a handsome, bright-faced boy again, and 
Blair was a little girl, with those wonderful eyes and con- 
fiding ways. Middleton wondered if he should suddenly 
turn and walk in on them, with a reminder of that old 
time, how they would receive him. He was half-minded 
to do it, and actually paused. He would go in and say, 
"Here, the Avar is over — let's be friends." But suddenly a 
man passed him and glanced up in his face and saluted. 
It was Leech, and Middleton saw him look across to 
where the invalid and his fair young nurse sat on the 
shaded veranda, and knew what his thoughts were. The 
spell was broken. Middleton stej^ped down from romance 
to the hard ground of reality, and passed on to give his 
orders for the evening. 

Jacquelin's arrest and illness had come near breaking up 
the entertainment (a name which had been substituted for 
ball, to meet the scruples of Miss Thomasia and some other 
pious ladies). But this Jacquelin would on no account 
hear of. Besides, after the order forbidding public gath- 
erings at night, it would look like truckling. As, how- 
ever, in the family's absence, the assembly could not be 
held at Eed Eock, it was decided to have it at the court- 
house, where Jacquelin now was. This concession was 
made ; the largest and best building there for such an en- 
tertainment was one used as a Masonic hall, and occasion- 
ally as a place for religious services. This hall was se- 
lected. Who was resj)onsible for its selection was not 
actually known. Thurston told Middleton that when he 
said he ought to have been a bishop, he placed his abilities 
far too low — that really he ought to have been a pope. 
But he did not ajipear in the matter at all except to meet 
the objections raised by Leech, and to silence that official 
by an allusion to his recent pious ministrations in that 
building. Steve Allen was the chief advocate of the hall, 
and took the lead in its selection and also in its defence ; 


for some objection was made by others than Leech to hav- 
ing a party in this building, and on very different grounds. 
Miss Thoniasia and some others who were not entirely sat- 
isfied anyhow about dancing, thought that it was certainly 
more liii;ely to be wrong in a room which had been some- 
times used, howevei rarely, for religious services, and it 
took some skill to overrule their objections. Thurston 
said to Mrs. Dockett that it had never been consecrated. 
''So far from it," said Mrs. Dockett, '' it has been dese- 
crated." (The last service held in it had been held by a 
Union chaplain, who had come up from town and preached 
in it to the soldiers, with Leech on the front bench.) 

Miss Thomasia, being for once in accord with both 
Thurston and Steve, gave in, and actually lent her aid and 
counsel, at least so far as related to the embellishment of 
the hall, and of some who were to attend there. She vent- 
ured her advice to Steve in only one matter relating to 
the outside. Having found him at work one evening, 
making a short rustic bench to be placed under one of the 
trees in the yard, she said she hoped he did not intend that 
for two people, and that young man scandalously replied 
that he was making it short on purpose for her and the 
General ; and, in the face of her offended dignity, impu- 
dently added that the General had engaged him to do it, 
and had given him the measurements. 

" Steve Allen, I am too old for you to talk to me so," 
said Miss Thomasia. 

'"Taint me, Cousin Thomasia; ^tis the General," per- 
sisted Steve, and then, as the little faded lady still re- 
mained grave and dignified, he straightened up and glanced 
at her. Stepping to her side, he slipped his arm round 
her, like a big stalwart son, and, looking down in her 
face with kindly eyes, said, tenderly : 

" Cousin Thomasia, there aren't any of 'em like you now- 
adays. They don't make 'em so any more. The mould's 
broken." He seated the little lady gently on the bench, 
pleased and mollified, and flung himself on the grass at her 


feet, and the two had a long, confidential talk, from which 
both derived much comfort, and Steve much profit (he 
said). At least, he learned sometliiiig new, and when as 
the dew began to fall Miss Thomasia rose, it Vy^as with a 
better insight into the nature of the reckless young fel- 
low ; and Steve, on his part, had a new feeling for Miss 
Thomasia, and led her in with a new tenderness. For 
Miss Thomasia had told the young man, what she had never 
admitted to a soul in all her life — that the reason the Gen- 
ei-al, or anyone else, had never won her was that long ago 
her heart had been given to another — " the handsomest, 
most brilliant man I ever saw," she said — who had loved 
her, she believed, with all his soul, but had not been strong 
enough to resist, even for her sake, the temptation of two 
besetting sins — drink and gambling — and she had obeyed 
her father, and given him up. 

Steve was lying full length on his back at her feet, his 
face turned to her, and his clasped hands under his head. 

" Cousin Tliomasia, who was he, and what became of 
him ? " he asked, gently. 

'' He was your father, Steve, and you might have 
been — " The voice was so low that the young man did 
not catch the last word. He unclasped his hands, and 
placed one forearm quickly across his face, and lay quite 
still for a minute or two. Then he moved it. Miss Thoma- 
sia was sitting quite motionless, her eyes in her lap, and 
with the fading light of the evening sky slanting under 
the trees and resting on her face and soft, silvered hair. 
She sighed so softly it might have been only breathing. 

'' I never knew it," said Steve, gently ; " but I might 
have known." 

He rose slowly, and leaning over her, kissed her ten- 
derly, and she laid her head on his shoulder. 

" Yes, Steve, now you know." 

And Steve said, yes, and kissed her again like a son. 

" Cousin Thomasia," he said, presently, '' I will not say 
I will never drink again ; but I will promise you not to 
gamble again, and I will not drink to excess any more." 


*' Oh ! Steve, if yon knew how I have prayed for you ! " 
said the little lady, softly. 

"Well, maybe. Cousin Thomasia, this is in answer to 
it," said Steve, half seriously. 

There was as much preparation for tli« entertainment 
as there had ever been in the old times for the greatest 
ball given at Red Rock or Birdwood. Some of the guests 
from distant neighborhoods came several days before- 
hand to be in time, or to help superintend, and stayed 
at the houses of their friends near the county seat. Even 
the General's bachelor establishment was transformed for 
the occasion into a nest of doves, who, it was said, put 
up more little knick-knacks than he had ever seen, and 
made the old fellow more comfortable than he had ever 
been before in all his life. 

Thus the little village, which for some time had been 
hardly more than a camp, over-run with negro camp-fol- 
lowers, suddenly took on a new air and freshened up, with 
young girls in cool dresses and big hats on the streets, or 
making pleasant groups under the trees in the yards on 
the slopes outside the hamlet, from which laughter and 
singing to the music of guitars floated down to the village 
below. The negroes themselves Joined in, and readily 
fell into old habits, putting themselves in the way of the 
visitors, whom they overwhelmed with compliments, and 
claims, and offers of service. 

Amid this, Middleton and Thurston went in and out 
quietly, attending to their duties, drilling and inspectiug 
and keeping their eyes open, less for treason than for 
the pretty girls who had come suddenly upon them like 
flowers after a spring rain. They met a few of them casu- 
ally, either through Steve Allen or Mrs. Dockett, whose 
house was filled with them ; but the new-comers treated 
them with such undeniable coolness that there was little 
encouragement to prosecute the acquaintance. Even 
plump Miss Dockett stiffened perceptibly, and treated 
Lieutenant Thurston with more severity than she had ever 
exhibited since he had made those wonderful bargains. 


Only one man in the whole village appeared absolutely 
out of humor over the stir and preparations, and that was 
Leech. The ])\a,n which he and Still had laid down to 
prevent the assembly having failed, Leech determined to 
break it up, at all hazards. Still was in constant, if secret, 
conference with him. They had told Sherwood and Moses 
that they could prevent it. If it were held in spite of 
them, it would prove that they were less jjowerful than 
tliey pretended to be. 

Leech would go to town and obtain a peremj)tory order 
forbidding this very meeting. 

" Have it made out so you can give it, yourself," coun- 
selled Still. " Wait till the last minute and then spring 
it on 'em. AVe'll show 'em we're not to be treated as they 
please. They don't know me yet, but they soon will. I've 
got that as will make some of 'em wince. I'll show 'em 
who Hiram Still is." He tapped his pocket significantly. 

So it was decided, and Leech went off to the* city to use 
his influence with Colonel Kraf ton, while Still was to pre- 
pare a foundation for his interference, through the negro 
leaders, Sherwood, Moses, and Nicholas Ash. 

That evening there was a little more stir among the 
negroes about the court-house than had been observed 
before. Sherwood and Moses were there, sent down by 
Still, and that night they held a meeting — a religious 
meeting it was called — at which there was some singing 
and praying, and much speaking or preaching — the two 
preachers being Sherwood and Moses. They could be 
heard all over the village, and at length their shouting and 
excitement reached such a pitch and attracted so much 
attention that some of the residents walked down to the 
place wliere they were congregated, to look into the matter. 
Moses was speaking at the moment, mounted on an im- 
promptu platform, swaying his body back and forth, and 
pouring forth a doctrine as voluble in words as it was vio- 
lent in sound and gesture, whilst his audience surged around 
him, swaying and shouting, and exciting themselves into a 


sort of wild frenzy. The white men who had gathered, 
listened silently and sullenly to the sounds rising in 
unison with the speaker's voice. Some were of the 
opinion that he ought to be stopped at once and the 
meeting broken up, and there were plenty of offers to do 
it. A more prudent head, however, had adojoted an- 
other course. Dr. Cary, who happened to be in the 
village that night, hearing what was going on, and know- 
ing what might occur at any moment, called on the officer 
in command, and stated to him the danger of a collision. 
Captain Middleton walked down to the meeting with him 
to make his own observation. Only a few moments 
sufficed. The violence of the speaker, who Avas now danc- 
ing back and forth ; the excitement of the dusky crowd 
pressing about him ; the gathering of Avhite men on the 
edge of the throng, speaking in low, earnest tones, their 
eyes turned to the speaker, suggested prompt measures. 

"Don't de Book say, as we shall inherit the nth?" 
cried the speaker, and his audience moaned and swayed 
and shouted in assent. 

"An' ain't de harvest white fur de laborer ?" 

" Yas — yas,'^ shouted the audience. "White fur de 
laborer ! " 

" Unless you stop them, Captain, we shall ; for we know 
that it is necessary and that it will be a kindness to them," 
said the Doctor, quietly ; and the officer recognizing the 
necessity, though he little understood the Doctor's full 
meaning, assented prom23tly. He pushed his way through 
the throng, followed by the Doctor. He stopped the speak- 
er and mounted the platform, and in a few words forbade 
any further speaking and ordered the crowd to disperse, 
which it did almost immediately, dissolving like magic 
before the officer's order. Then he turned to the speaker, 
and with a sharp reprimand for his action commanded 
him to leave the village. The trick-doctor cringed, and 
with a whine of acquiescence bowed himself off. 




When Leecli returned from the city, next day, lie was in 
such good spirits tliat Steve and Thurston both arrived at 
a simihir conclusion, and decided that there was some mis- 
chief brewing, Steve called Jerry and had a talk with 

About sunset Leech mounted his horse at his stable and 
rode out of the village through a back lane. He was to 
meet Still that night at Nicholas Ash's. Still and his 
son. met him according to appointment, and the details of 
their plan were arranged. 

Leech found that he had an ally stronger than he had 
dreamed of. Still showed him that he was a juuch richer 
man than he had ever admitted. He not only held the 
bonds of Dr. Gary, given for the money he had lent the 
Doctor, and a bond of his late employer, Mr. Gray, of 
which Leech already knew ; but he held another bond of 
Mr. Gray for an amount large enough to swallow uj) his 
entire estate. Leech could scarcely believe his eyes. Mrs. 
Gray did not know of its existence ; but the bond was un- 
doubtedly genuine. Mrs. Gray herself, Still said, would 
admit that. He had a satisfactory explanation for her ig- 
norance, as well as for the fact that he had never before 
mentioned to Leech that he held so large a claim against 
the Gray estate. He had made the money by negro-trading 
quietly, before the war, and had lent it to Mr. Gray to 
stock a plantation, which he, as Mr. Gray's agent, had 
bought for him in the far South. And he had not men- 
tioned it to Mrs. Gray or anyone else for a very simple 



reason. He had promised Mr. Gray that he would never 
trouble Mrs. Gray about the bonds during her life. 

Leech did not believe this ; but there were the bonds — - 
one a small one, and one a very big one, and Still had of 
late hinted several times at something that he was storing 
up for the proper moment. 

" I told you I didn't care if you killed that young 
Jacquelin that night," he laughed. " Why didn't you do 
it ? I must say I never allowed tliat he'd git thar alive." 

''Neither did I," suggested Leech. ''And I believe it 
did him good." 

" I don't know about that," said Still, enigmatically ; 
" but I wouldn't 'a' shed no tears over him. But if you do 
as I tell you, we'll git even and have a leetle sometliin' to 
spare. You just work Krafton and get your friends to 
back you, and you and me'll own this county. I'll see 
that Moses is there on time, if he don't have an inch of 
skin left on him." 

A rumor had meantime got abroad at the county seat 
that an order had been secured by Leech forbidding the 
assembly, and that though Middleton knew nothing of it 
as yet. Leech would spring it at the proper time and try 
to prevent the assembly. There was much excitement 
over it. A number of young men dropped in at Steve 
Allen's office to ascertain the truth of the report, and 
there was a rather general expression of opinion that the 
ball would take place whether Leech had such an order 
or not. 

" Go and ask Middleton, directly," advised Jacquelin, 
and Steve did so. Middleton said he had no knowledge on 
the subject, and knew of no one to whom such an order 
should be addressed except himself. 

Jerry, who was lounging sleepily not far from Leech's 
office, was called in by Steve and interrogated again with 
sundry forcible intimations of what would happen in case 
he should be deceiving him. But Jerry was firm. He 
reiterated again and again his fervent wish for a speedy 


dissolution and a perpetual condemnation of the most 
lurid character, if every word he had spoken were not 
more than true. Leech, he declared, had the j^ciper in his 
pocket, and had read it to Sherwood and Moses and Nich- 
olas in his back oflSce, and was going to deliver it to Cap- 
tain Middleton next day, the day set for the entertainment. 

" I lies to urrers ; but the Cun'l knows I wouldn' lie to 
him," protested Jerry, in final asseveration. 

" That's so — he knows better," said Steve ; and Jerry, 
with a grin, went back to his post in sight of Leech's 
back door. 

Steve, with a new light in his face, went up to Mrs. 
Dockett's and had a little talk with Miss Dockett and one 
or two of the young ladies there, and in ten minutes, with 
locked doors, they were busy sewing for life. It must 
have been something very amusing they were engaged in, 
to judge from the laughter that floated down from their 

That night Iliram Still, with his son, was on his way 
back to Red Eock from his meeting with Leech, while 
Leech was riding back to the court-house. 

It was about ten o'clock and the moon was covered by 
clouds ; Leech was riding along, thinking of the plans 
he had formed and the manner of j^ublishing his order, 
and of the effect it would have in establishing his posi- 
tion in the county. He had got within a mile or two of 
the village when, in a little "bottom "in a lonely piece 
of woods, just before reaching a fork in the road, there 
was an owl-hoot behind him, and another, as if in response, 
a little ahead of him. The next moment his horse started 
violently, as a dark object which Leech had noticed when 
still at a distance from it, but thought merely a bush, 
moved out into the road immediately before him. Ilis 
heart Jumped into his throat, for it was not like anything 
earthly. In the darkness, it looked as much like a small 
elephant with a howdah on it, as anything else ; but iio did 
not have time to think much about it, for the next instant 


it was close on him right across the road, a huge muffled 
figure on a high, shapeless beast. Leech's horse snorted and 
wheeled. Another figure was behind him, closing in on 
him. Leech pulled in liis frightened horse; for somewhere 
about the middle of the dark figure lowering above him 
there was a momentary flash of steel. Leech thought of 
his own pistol, but the great figure moved closer to him, 
very close to him, and stopped. Not a word was said. 
Tlie figure simply sat in front of him, silent and motion- 
less, while the other moved up on the other side and did 
the same. Leech's tongue was sticking to his mouth. 
The stillness and silence were more awful than any words 
could have been. He tried to speak, but his lips could 
scarcely frame the words. Presently he managed to falter : 

" What do you want ?" 

There was no answer, and again the silence became worse 
than ever. The voices of the katydids sounded far and 

" AVho are you ? " 

There was not a word. Only the figures pressed closer 
to him. 

''What — what do you want?" 

Silence and the katydids in the woods. 

" Let me go by. I have no money." 

There was no answer, and for a moment no motion, only 
the gleam of steel again. Then the two figures, pressing 
close against the Provost, silently turned his horse around 
and moved slowdy off into the woods, without a word, with 
him between them. 

He tried to pull up his reins ; they were held on either 
side, and an arm was throAvn around him. 

" Where are you going ?" faltered Leech. 

They moved on without a word. 

" Wait— I will— I will give " 

A bag or somethiug was suddenly thrown over his head 
and pressed down to his elbows, which at the same mo- 
ment were pinioned to his side, and his pistol was taken. 


He was afraid to cry out, and jDerliaps could not have done 
BO even had he tried. 

The next instant a hand was put into his breast pocket 
and his pocket-book and all his papers were taken out ; he 
was conscious of a match being struck and a liglit made, 
and that his papers were being looked over. He thought 
he heard one of his captors say, " Ah ! " and the next mo- 
ment the papers and pocket-book were put back in his 
pocket, and the light was extinguished ; the bag was drawn 
from over his head, and his captors rode off through the 
woods. When he tried to move he discovered that his 
horse was tied to a bush and he had to dismount to untie 
him. His pistol was lying at the foot of the sapling. 
Long before he had finished loosing his horse, the sound of 
his two waylayers had died out. 

As the Provost entered the village the sour expression on 
his face deeijened. The clouds had disapj)eared and the 
summer night was perfect ; the village lay before him, a 
picture of peace ; the glint of white beneath the court- 
house trees being just enough to suggest that the tents 
there were hidden. The streets were filled with a careless 
throng, and all the sounds were those of merriment : laugh- 
ter and shouting, and the twang of banjos. There was never 
an unlikelier field for such a plan as the Provost had in mind. 

He rode through like a shadow, silencing the negroes 
and scowling at the whites, and as soon as he had put up 
his horse, he called on Caj^tain Middleton. It was not a 
long interview, but it was a stormy one, and when the 
Provost came out of the Captain's office he had thrown 
down the gauntlet and there was an open breach between 
them. He had complained to Middleton of being beset by 
highwaymen and robbed of his order, and Middleton had 
told him plainly he did not believe a word he said. 

" How did you get such an order ? If there was such 
an order, why was it not addressed to me ?" he asked. 

Leech said that he declined to be interrogated, but he 
would soon show him that he had authority. 


" Then yon will have to bring some better evidence than 
your own word," said Middleton, coldly. 

Leech fired up and attempted a bolder tone than he had 
ever dared use before with Middleton, and actually forbade 
the meeting the following night. The young Captain, 
however, gave him to understand that he himself was the 
commandant there and that for another word, order or no 
order, he would place him under arrest, which step at that 
moment would have so interfered with Leech's plans that 
he had not ventured to push the matter further. 

Next night the long-talked-of entertainment came off 
duly, and Miss Blair Gary and Miss Elizabeth Dockett and 
the other girls who had waited so long, showed their little 
plain, sweet, white and pink dresses which they had made 
themselves, and their prettier white throats and pink faces, 
and lovely flashing eyes which God had made ; and danced 
with their gray-jacketed escorts, their little feet slipped 
in their little slippers, many of which were high-heeled 
and faded with age, having belonged to their mothers, and 
grandmothers — even great-grandmothers — and enjoyed it 
all as much as ever the former wearers of the slippers did in 
their full glory of satin and lace. For of such is the King- 
dom of Youth. 

The Yankee officers attended, very dignified, and were 
treated politely, but not warmly, of course, only just so 
civilly as to show that Southerners knew what was due to 
guests even when they were enemies ; but not so warmly 
as to let them forget that they were foes. 

This, however, made little difference to the young 
men, for the civility which it was felt was " their due as 
guests" was sufficient to make a marked contrast with a 
past in which not a soul in petticoats had noticed them, 
and the girls were pretty enough to satisfy them at first, 
even if there was no other privilege conferred than merely 
that primal right of the cat in the proverb. Everyone, 
however, meant to be civil, and for the time, at least, at 


But there was more than this ; the night was perfect ; 
the breath of flowers and siirubbery came in through tlie 
open windows ; the moon was ahnost at her full, and her 
soft light was lying on the grass, mantling the trees, and 
filling the night with that amber mellowness which some- 
times comes in summer, and seems to bring a s^Jecial peace- 

The camp lay hidden in the distance, and the throng in 
the streets hung on the fences, listening to the music, or 
laughed and danced in full sympathy with the occasion. 

Steve Allen constituted himself the especi;d host of the 
two officers. It was by him that Middleton and Thur- 
ston were introduced to most of the girls, and to the older 
ladies, who sat at the end of the room farthest from the 
music, their eyes, filled with light, following their daugh- 
ters or others whose success was near to their hearts, or, 
like Miss Thomasia, beaming a benediction on the whole 
throng of happy dancers. 

Still, an hour after the dancing began, the one person 
whom Middleton particularly wished to meet had not ap- 
peared, and Middleton, who had been planning for a week 
what he should say to Miss Gary, found himself with a vague 
feeling of dissatisfaction. Little Thurston was capering 
around as if to the manner born ; persj^iring at every pore ; 
paying attention to half the girls in the room, and casting- 
glances at Miss Dockett languishing enough, as Middleton 
said, to lay the foundation for a breach of promise suit. But 
Middleton could not get into the sjairit of the occasion. 
He asked a number of girls to dance, but they were all 
''engaged," and politely showed their cards. So Mid- 
dleton fell back. General Legale, and the other older 
gentlemen courteously drew him into their conversation, 
;ind the General rallied him, with an old bachelor's license, 
on not dancing, declaring that the sight of such girls was 
the true fountain of youth ; but the young Captain was 
not in the mood for fun. A vague feeling of unrest was 
on him. The order that Leech had mentioned ; the Pro- 


vest's positive mauner ; the warning that he had given ; 
the covert threat he had dared to employ, all hegan to 
recur to Middleton and worry him. lie felt that he would 
be responsible if any trouble should occur. He went out 
and walked through the village. A light was shining under 
the door of Leech's office ; but all was as it had been: good- 
humor everywhere. The moonlight soothed him and the 
pleasant greetings as he passed served to restore his good- 
humor, and he returned to the ball. As he did so an old 
high-backed carriage, which he thought he recognized, 
made its way slowly past him. The driver v/as explaining 
to someone who walked beside him the cause of his delay. 

" Dat fool hoss — you can't git him in de water to save 
your life. He'll breck ev'y thing to pieces fust. But my 
young Mistis, she's dyah now, an' she's de queen on 'em all, 
I tell you. You go dyah an' look at her th'oo de winder," 
he wound up with a proud laugh. 

As Middleton re-entered the ball-room there was quite a 
group near the door surrounding someone who was the 
centre of attraction, and whom Captain Allen was teasing. 

" Oh ! You'll dance with him. He left because you 
had not come, but I have sent for him. He's saved a set 
expressly for you." 

"I won't. He has done no such thing, and I won't 
dance with you either, unless you go away and let me 
alone." The voice was a charming one. 

" I'll bet you do. I understand why you made old 
Gideon drive you up the stream that evening ; but you 
can't expect liim to be mooning on the bank of every creek 
in the county, you know " 

" That settles it for you, Steve," said the voice over be- 
hind the heads. "Jack, I have the seventh dance with 
you as well as the first and fourth," she called to Jacquelin 
who was seated against the wall, his crutches beside him. 

" Jack never was any hand at arithmetic, and besides 
he can't dance," declared Allen, as his friend professed his 


Just then Allen canght sight of Middleton, over the 
heads of the others. 

"Ah ! here — Captain Middleton, I want to present you 
to my cousin, Miss Blair Gary, who wishes to know how 
you happened not to be — " He caught his cousin's eye, 
and changed his speech " — who has a question to ask you. 
Captain Middleton — Miss Cary." The others made way 
for Middleton, and he stepped forward and bowed low. 

She was all in white, and was blazing with brass buttons. 
They were her only ornaments, except a single old jewel 
consisting of a ruby surrounded by diamonds. She wore 
bracelets of the buttons on her arms, and a necklace of 
lurffer ones on a band around her white throat. A broad 
belt of them girdled her little waist. 

As Middleton bowed, he caught her eye and the same 
look of mingled defiance and amusement which he remem- 
bered so well at the ford. He hardly Jcnew whether to 
laugh or be grave, and was conscious that he was growing 
red, as her look changed into one of triumph. He re- 
mained grave, however, and rallied enough to ask her for 
a dance. She bowed. They were all engaged. 

"I have the seventh — to sit out, I believe?" said 
Jacquelin Gray maliciously, from his seat, for Steve's ben- 
efit. Miss Blair looked at her card ; — then to Jacquelin : 

'' You only believe? As you have forgotten so far as 
to have a doubt about it, the seventh is not engaged," 
said the young coquette, with a curtsey. She turned. " I 
will give it to you, Captain Middleton." She looked at 
Jacquelin and with a little — only the least little toss of 
the head, took the arm of a young man who had just 
claimed his set, and bowing to Middleton moved olf, leav- 
ing both Steve and Jacquelin looking a trifle blank. 

"That girl's the most unaccountable creature that ever 
was on earth," growled Jacquelin. "I'll be lianged if I'll 
be treated so ! " He looked across the room after her 
floating form. 

"Go slow, old man, go slow," said Steve. "You'll be 


treated that way and come again for more. And you 
know you will." 

Jacquelin growled. He knew in his heart it was true. 

Middleton thought that the seventh set would never 
come, but, like everything else in life, it came at last, and 
though there were three claimants for it, the one who 
was the final judge decided for Middleton and walked 
off with him, calmly leaving both the other aspirants 
fuming and scowling. 

" You can't fight him Jack," said Steve with a laugh to 
his cousin, who was muttering to himself, " because I'd 
first have to fight you, you know." 

Having thus punished both her admirers, Miss Gary 
declined to dance — whether to keep her word ; to avoid 
pleasing too much the young Federal Captain, or to sootiie 
the ruffled spirits of his unsuccessful competitors, who may 
tell ? For no one can thread the mazes of a girl's caprice. 

But this made little difference to Middleton. They 
strolled outside and found a seat. The moonlight ap- 
peared to Middleton more charming than he ever remem- 
bered it, and he discovered something which he had 
never known before. He wanted to please this girl as he 
never recalled having wanted to please any other, and he 
was conscious that it was a difficult, if not an impossible 
task. It was as though he lay in face of a foe, one who 
appeared at the outset stronger than he. Yet she did not 
appear to be attempting anything. She was simply in 
opposition to him, that was all. She appeared so unaf- 
fected and simple that, remembering what he had just 
seen of her coquetry, he wondered if she could be as 
natural as she seemed to be. Her gaze was so direct, her 
voice so placid, her manner so self-possessed, that he felt 
she had the advantage of him. And all the time he 
wanted to please her. 

In the course of their conversation she spoke of her 

Middleton had not remembered that she had a brother. 


" Where is he ? " he asked. 

" He was killed." She spoke very quietly. 

"Oh \" he said, softly. " I beg your pardon." 

" He was killed at Jacquelin Gray^s side, and Jacqueliii 
brought his body out under fire — just as Stove afterward 
tried to bring Jack." She sighed deeply, and her eyes 
seemed to say, " You can understand now ?" 

Middleton had a strange sensation. He had never be- 
fore looked in the eyes of a woman whose brother had 
been killed, jiossibly by his command. He hated Jacque- 
lin, but in a way he was grateful to him too ; for it was 
the first time Miss Gary had softened at all. 

" I believe that all your men went in the army," he said, 
feeling about for a new subject. 

" Of course." 

"And some of your ladies ? " he smiled. 

"All of them." Uj) went her head again. 

" I wonder that you were ever conquered ? " 

" Conquered ! We were not conquered." She looked 
it, as she stood there in the moonlight. Middleton had a 
sudden thrill that it would be worth his life to win such a 
girl, and she had never given him even one friendly glance. 
He could not help thinking, 

" What would Thurston say ? " 

A partner, came and claimed his set, and Middleton was 
left outside. He sat for a moment thinking how lonely 
her departure had made the place. He had never felt this 
way about any other girl. Just then a strange sound, like 
distant shouting, came through the stillness. Middleton 
rose and strolled down to the gate. There were fewer people 
in the street. A man came hurrying along and spoke to 
another. His voice was so excited that it arrested Middle- 
ton's attention, and he caught the last of his sentence. 

"It ought to be broke up at once. Go in there and call 
Captain Allen and McRaffle out." 

"What's that ?" asked Middleton, walking out of the 
gate, and up to him. 


" A nigger-meetiu' down yonder/' answered the man, 
sullenly. "If it ain't broken up there'll be trouble. 
Leech started it by reading a paper he had, tellin' 'em the 
Gov'ment wants the party broke up, and then he put 
Sherrod up, and now that yaller nigger. Dr. Moses, is up. 
Leech's been givin' 'em liquor, and unless it's stopped 
there'll be the devil to pay." 

"I'll see about it," said Middleton. He walked rapidly 
down in the direction the man had indicated. He was 
sensible, as he passed along, of some change, and, presently, 
the distant sound of a man speaking at the top of his voice 
came to him, followed shortly by a roar of a^oplause. He 
hurried on and jjassed a group of half a dozen white men, 
some of whom were advocating sending for " reinforce- 
ments," as they said, while others were insisting that they 
should go right in on them at once. All were united as 
to one thing : that the meeting ought to be stopped. 

" If we don't," said one, " there'll be trouble, and we 
might's w^ell do it at once. I can do it by myself." 

Some one said something about " the Yankee officers." 

" Yankees be blanked ! " said the other. " Wasn't it 
that scoundrel Leech as started it all ? He's been workin' 
it up all day. I got wind of it up at home ; — that's the 
reason I come down. We've got to do it ourselves." It 
was Andy Stamj^er. 

Just then they saw Middleton and followed him, offering 
their advice and services. All they wanted was autliority. 

When Middleton arrived, he agreed with them that the 
speaking ought to be stopped at once. He had never seen 
such a sight. The entire negro population of the place 
appeared to be packed there, moaning and singing, hug- 
ging each other and shouting, whilst Moses, the negro he 
had ordered to leave town, was on the platform, tossing 
his arms in a sort of frenzy and calling on them to rise 
and prove they were the chosen people. " God had 
brought their enemies all together in one place," he cried, 
" and all that was needed was for Samson to arise and 


prove his strengtli. Their deliverer was at hand. " Ain't 
you heah dat de wud done come from de New Jerusalem, 
an' ain't my name Moses — Moses ? Moses is my name !" he 
shouted, intoning the words in a sort of wild frenzy. The 
shout that greeted him proved the danger of his course. 

"D — n him, I'll stop his mouth," said one of the young- 
men, pushing his way through the throng, but Middleton 
was before him. He forced his way, followed by the 
others, through the crowd which gave way before him 
at his command, and, when still some yards away from the 
platform, he ordered the speaker to cease. But Moses was 
either too drunk or too excited to heed, and went on 
shouting his singsong. 

''I'll lead you to de burnin' bush," he cried. "I'll 
give you de promise Ian'." As it happened, a man 
standing in the crowd had a carriage-whip in his hand. 
The Captain snatched it from him and sprang on the plat- 
form, and the next instant was raining on the would-be 
prophet and leader such a thrashing as he had never had 
in his life. The effect was miraculous. The first lash of 
the heavy whip took the preacher by surprise and dazed 
him ; the second recalled him to himself and stripped his 
prophetic character from him, leaving him nothing but a 
whining, miserable creature, who was trying to deceive and 
mislead others as miserable and more ignorant than himself. 

As the Captain laid the blows on fast and thick, Moses 
cringed and finally broke and fled from the platform, fol- 
lowed by the jeers and shouts of the crowd who had just 
been ready to follow him in any violence, if, indeed, ho 
would have had the courage to lead them. And when the 
irate officer appeared ready to turn his whip on them, and 
did accompany his peremptory order that they should dis- 
perse at once, with a few contcmjjtuous lashes at those 
nearest him, they broke and ran with as much good-humor 
as they had shown an hour previously, when they were danc- 
ing and shuffling in the street, before Leech and his agents 
got hold of them. 



The next day there was much stir in the county, at least 
about the conrt-honse, and it was known that Middleton 
had summoned Leech before him and had had an interview 
with him, which rumor said was stormy, and that it had 
ended by the Provost being sent to his room, it was said, 
under arrest. 

So much was certain, Middleton after this took charge 
of matters which up to this time Leech had been attending 
to, and Leech remained out of sight until he left the place, 
which he did two days later. One of the first steps Mid- 
dleton took was to summon the negroes before him aud 
give them a talk. And he closed his speech by a warning 
that they should keep order wherever they were, declar'ing, 
that if there were any repetition of Moses's performance 
of the previous night the offender would not escape so 

The effect of his act was admirable. By nightfall nearly 
every negro who was not employed about the county seat 
had left, and within two days many of them were at work, 
back at their old homes. 

Middleton found himself suddenly as popular as he had 
formerly been unjDopular, receiving visits and invitations 
from half the gentlemen in the place, so that Thurston 
said it was just the old story : he set the triggers and 
worked everything, and Middleton just walked in and 
took the game. 

" Here I have been working like a nigger,'" he said to 


Middleton, " watcliiiig around and following that fellow 
Leech in all his rascality; displaying the most consummate 
qualities of leadership, and singing my head off, and yon 
happen to come along, pick nj) a driver's whip and let into 
a drunken rascal, talk a lot of rot next morning, and in 
five minutes do what I with all my genius haven't been 
able to do in as many months. It's the old story, Larry, 
it's fate ! What did I tell you ? Long legs are worth 
more to a man than a long head. But, Larry, look out 
for Leech. He's a blood-sucker. Tra-la ; I have an en- 
gagement. Might as well get some of the good of your 
glory, old man, while it lasts, you know. Beauty fadeth 
as a flower." And leaving Middleton over his report, the 
cheery little Lieutenant went off to have a ride with Miss 
Dockett, who, in view of certain professions of his and pro- 
ceedings of his Captain's the night before, had honored 
him so far as to vouchsafe him that privilege. 

Eeely Thurston's half humorous warning to his friend 
was not without foundation, as both he and Middleton 
knew, and within a week the Captain was up to his ears in 
reports and correspondence relative to his conduct in the 

The quietness of everything around him was a fact to 
which he pointed with pride ; the restoration of order 
throughout the county was a proof of the wisdom of 
his course. Crime had diminished ; order had been re- 
stored ; good feeling had grown up ; the negroes had re- 
turned to work, and Avere getting regular wages. They 
were already beginning to save a little and some were buy- 
ing land. The whites had accepted the status of affairs 
in good faith and were, he believed, turning all their 
energies to meet the exigencies of the time in the best way 
they could. In a word, peace was fully restored in the 
territory under his command. He congratulated himself 
that he was able to state a condition of affairs so entirely 
in accord with the observation of the commander-in-chief 
of the armies, who about that time visited the State and 


made a similar report ou it. Even Keeiy Thurston com- 
mended Middleton's report, and confided to Miss Dockett, 
who was beginning to receive such confidences more gra- 
ciously of late, that " Larry had somewhere, in that high 
head of his, a deuced lot of brains," a compliment which 
the young Captain would liave taken more gratefully from 
him than from any other soul on earth. 

Another cause of content was Just then beginning to 
have its efi'ect on Middleton. Miss Gary was beginning to 
treat him witli some degree of Christian charity, and actu- 
ally condescended to take a ride with him on horseback, 
and when he proved himself sufiBciently appreciative of 
this honor, took another. 

So things went, and before the summer evenings were 
over, the young Captain had ridden to the point where he 
had given Blair Cary all the confidences which a young 
man in his twenties is likely to give the prettiest girl in 
his circle of acquaintance, especially when she is the only 
one whose eyes soften a little at the recital, and who re- 
sponds a bit by giving Just a little of her own. Not that 
Miss Cary for a moment allowed Middleton to forget that 
on the one great subject always present, the v/orld stretched 
between them. They were enemies. Between tliem there 
was never more than a truce. She would be his friend 
while it lasted ; but never more. That was all ! Her skir- 
mish-line, so to speak, exchanged courtesies with his ; but, 
on the first suggestion of a signal, sprang to her rifle-pits. 

She always wore, when she rode, a gray cap, which 
Middleton, without asking any questions, knew had been 
her brother's. It was a badge, and the young man rec- 
ognized it as such. She still wore her brass buttons, 
and would never give him one of them. One afternoon, 
as they were returning from a ride in which he had told 
her all about Euth Welch, dwelling somewhat on their 
cousinship, they stopped at the ford where he had gone to 
Blair's rescue the day her horse fell, and he asked her 
casually if she would give him one of the buttons to save 


his life. She quietly said "No," and he believed her. 
Yet this made little difference to the young man. He 
was not in love with her, he Vv^as sure. He only enjoyed 
her. And the summer evenings which he spent at Bird- 
wood, or riding with her through the arching woods, were 
the pleasantest he had ever known. As they watered 
their horses at the ford that afternoon no less than' four 
other couples came riding uj? on their way home, and 
there was quite a little levee held in the limpid stream, 
Middleton finding himself taken into the talk and raillery 
quite as a memljer of the circle. The far-off call of 
ploughmen to their teams in the low-grounds of Red Eock 
and the distant lowing of cattle in the pastures came 
muffled on the soft air, wliile a woodlark in the woods 
along the waterside sang its brilliant song to its tardy 
mate with a triumph born only of security and peace. 
As Captain Middleton looked at the faded gray coats and 
his blue one, the numbers doubled by the reflection in the 
placid stream, and listened to the laughter about him, he 
could not but think what a picture and proof of peace it 
was. And Miss Gary was the prettiest girl in the party. 

Suddenly one of tlie horses became restive, and slashed 
away at the nearest horse to him. Blair, in pulling her 
horse out of the way, got under an overhanging bough 
and her cap was knocked from her head into the water. 
She gave a little cry of dismay as it floated down the 
stream, and at her call more than one of the young men 
turned his horse to recover the cap ; but Middleton was 
nearest, and he spurred straight into the deep water below 
the ledge and swam for the cap, reaching it just before 
the others got it. He was pleased at the applause he re- 
ceived when he returned. 

Miss Gary only said " thank you," as she might have 
said it if he had picked the cap from the floor. 

Not all the county people, however, acquiesced so entirely 
in receiving Middleton on so friendly a basis; some did not 
see why a Yankee officer should be taken up as a friend. 


There was one yonng man who did not appreciate- at 
least Middleton's mode of exhibiting his friendliness. 
Steve and Middleton had become very good friends ; bnt 
Jacquelin Gray, as jealous as Othello, grew more and more 
reserved toward the young officer, and began to give himself 
many airs about his attentions to Blair Gary. If anything, 
this only incited Blair to show Middleton greater favor, and 
at last the young lady gave Jacquelin to understand that 
she intended to do just as she pleased and did not propose 
to be held accountable by him for anything whatever. 

The evening of the ride on which Blair lost her cap and 
Middleton recovered it for her, Jacquelin had driven 
over ''to see the doctor," he said, and found her gone off 
with Middleton. As Dr. Gary was away, visiting his 
patients, which Jacquelin might have known, and Mrs. 
Gary was confined to her room that day, Jacquelin was 
left to himself and had plenty of time as he sat on the 
porch all alone, to chew the cud of bitter fancy, and reflect 
on the caprices of a part of the human race. He was not 
much consoled when Mammy Krenda came out and, with 
kindly sympathy, said : 

'' You too late — you better make haste an' git off dem 
crutches, honey, and git 'pon horseback. Grutches can't 
keep up with horses." She disappeared within and Jacque- 
lin was left in a flame of jealousy. By the time Blair ar- 
rived he was in just the state of mind to make a fool of 
himself. When Jacquelin began the interview, he, per- 
haps, had no idea of going as far as his heat carried him ; 
but unhappily he lost his head — or as much of a head 
as a man can have who is deeply in love and, having 
gone to see his sweetheart, finds her off riding with a rival. 

It was quite dusk when the riders rode slowly up the ave- 
nue. They stopped at the gate, and Jacquelin could hear 
Blair's cordial invitation to her companion to come in and 
take supper with them. Middleton declined. 

" But I'm afraid you will catch cold, riding so far in wet 
clothes," she urged. He, however, had to return im- 


mediately, he declared, and after a few more words he 
galloped off, while Blair came on to the house. 

" Why, Jacqueliu ! Yon here all by yourself ! " she ex- 
claimed. She bent over him quickly to prevent his rising 
for her. Had Jacquelin been cool enough to note her 
voice it might have saved him ; but he was not even look- 
ing at her. His manner hauled her up short, and the next 
instant hers had changed. She seated herself and tried 
for a few moments to be light and divert him. She told of 
the episode at the ford. Jacquelin, however, was not to be 
diverted, and, taking the silence which presently fell on 
her for a confession, he began to assume a bolder tone, and 
proceeded to take her to task for her conduct. 

" It was an outrage — an outrage on — Steve. It was 
shameful," he said, "that with such a man as Steve offering 
his heart to her, she should be boldly encouraging a Yankee 
officer, so that everybody in the county was talking about 
it." It was when he said it was an outrage on Steve that 
the exj)losion came. Blair was on her feet in a second. 

"Jacquelin!" she exclaimed, with a gasp. The next 
second she had found her voice. He had never seen her as 
she became. It was a new Blair standing above him, 
tall and straight in the dusk, her frame trembling, her 
voice vibrating. She positively flamed with indignation, 
not because of the charge, but against him for making it. 

" Whose business is it ? " she asked him, with glowing 
cheeks and flashing eyes. If her father and mother did 
not object, had he a right to interfere ? If Steve were not 
satisfied, could not he take care of himself ? Who had given 
him such a right ? And before Jacquelin could recover 
from his surprise, she had burst into tears and rushed into 
the house. 

Jacquelin drove home in black despair. He had been 
put wholly in the wrong, and yet he felt that he had had 
right originally on his side. His v/hole past appeared sud- 
denly rooted up ; his whole future destroyed by this new- 
comer, this hostile interloper. How he would love to have 


some cause of personal quarrel with him ! How gladly he 
would put it all to the test of one meeting. Yet what had 
Middleton done but win fairly ! and he had been a gentle- 
man always. Jacquelin was forced to admit this. But 
oh ! if he only had a just cause of quarrel ! Let him look 
out hereafter. But — if he were to meet him and he should 
fall, what would be the consequence ? He would only 
have ruined Blair's happiness and have destroyed his only 
hope. He almost ground his teeth at his helplessness 
as he drove home through the dusk. He did not know 
that at that moment Blair Gary, with locked door, was 
sobbing in her little white-curtained room, her anger no 
longer turned against him, hut against herself. 

"When Jacquelin awoke the next morning it was with a 
sinking at the heart. Blair was lost to him forever. Day- 
light, however, is a great restorer of courage, and, little 
by little, his spirits revived, until by evening he began to 
consider himself a most ill-used person, and to fancy Blair 
suing for pardon. He even found himself nursing an idea 
that she would write a note ; but instead of that, he heard 
that Middleton had been up to see her again, and once 
more his heart sank and his anger rose. He would show 
her that he was not to be trampled on and insulted as she 
had done. 

When Middleton arrived at the court-house the after- 
noon of his ride, he found an order transferring his com- 
pany to a frontier post in the far Northwest. They were 
to leave immediately. 

The same train by which the old company was to go was 
to bring its successor. 

The afternoon before his company left, Middleton rode 
up to Birdwood. He had given no one any notice, and he 
arrived unexpectedly. No one was in sight. The lawn 
appeared as deserted as if it were in the heart of a wilder- 
ness. The trees were as quiet as if Nature herself were 
asleep, and the sound of a dove cooing far down in the 
grove only intensiiied the quietude. Tying his horse. 


Middleton walked up tlirongli the grove. As he passed 
along he happened to cast his eyes in the direction of the 
little double building, which was off to one side at some 
distance back of the dwelling, and seeing the old mammy 
enter one of the doors he turned that way, thinking that 
she might come out, and he would ask if the family were 
at home. He stopped in front of the nearest door and 
looked in. It was the kitchen, and he was facing, not the 
mammy — who as a matter of fact, had entered another 
door — but Miss Gary herself. She was dressed in a white 
dress, and her skirt was turned back and pinned about her 
slender waist ; her sleeves were rolled up, showing her 
round, white arms. She was busy with a bread-tray. 
Middleton would have drawn back, but Blair looked up 
and their eyes met. There was a moment of half embar- 
rassment, and Middleton was about to draw back and aj^olo- 
gize for his intrusion, but before he could do so she came 
forward, smiling. 

" Won't you come in ?^' she said, " or will you walk into 
the house ? " The color had mounted to her cheeks, and 
the half mocking smile had still a little embarrassment in 
it ; but Middleton thought she had never looked so charm- 
ing. His heart gave a bound. 

" Can you doubt what I will do ? " He stej^ped over 
the high threshold. " Even if I be but scullion " 

" You must have been taking lessons from the General. 
Here — no one was ever allowed in here who would not 
work." She gave him a rolling-pin, and he set to work 
with it industriously. 

" This comes of your doing," she said, still smiling. " I 
am the only cook left. Why don't you detail me one ? If 
you were worth a button you would." 

"How would I do?" hazarded Middleton. '^'m a 
pretty good cook." 

" Aunt Betty wouldu' t have let you come into the kitchen 
if you handled your rolling-j^iu that way. Let me show 


'* Which is the best argument yet for the change of 
cooks," said Middleton, guilefully holding the rolling-pin 
more and more awkwardly, for the very pleasure of being 
set right by her. '' Now, don't you think I am worth a 
button ? " . 

*'No, but you may learn/' 

"Unfortunately, I am going away." 

"Are you? — When are you coming back?" — A polite 
little tone coming into her voice. 

"Never." lie tried to say it as indifferently as he had 
said it in practising when he rode up, which he liked 
better than the tragic " Never ! " which he had first pi'o- 
posed to himself ; and all the time he was watching her 
out of the tail of his eye. Slie said nothing, and he felt a 
little disappointed. 

" We are ordered away — " he began. She was busying 
herself about something. But he was sure she had heard. 
" — to the Northwest to keep the Indians down," he pro- 

" Oh !" She turned quickly toward him, and their eyes 

" Well, I hope you'll be as successful and find your task 
as pleasant there as you have here." Her head had gone 
up, as it did on the veranda the night of the ball. 

" I do not appear to have been particularly successful 
here," Middleton began, banteringly, then walked over to 
lier side. " Miss Gary, do you think I have really enjoyed 
my task here ?" 

" Why — yes," she began ; then she glanced up and found 
him grave. " I don't know — I thought " 

" No," said Middleton, " you did not." 

Just at that moment a shadow fell across the light, and 
Mammy Krenda stood in the door. 

" Well — I declare ! " she exclaimed, with well-feigned 
astonishment. "What in the worl' air you doin' in this 
kitchen ? " 

They both thought she was addressing Middleton, and 


he began to stammer a reply ; but it was lier young mis- 
tress whose presence there appeared to scandalize the old 

'' Don't you know you ain' got no business in heali ? I 
can't turn my back to git notliin', but what you come in- 
terferin' wid my things. Go right in de house dis minute 
and put yo' nice clo'es on,- I air really ashamed o' you to 
let a gent — a — anybody see you dat'way." She was push- 
ing Blair out gently. '' I don' know what she air doin' in 
heah," she said to Middleton, addressing him for the fust 
time, and with some disdain in her manner, as if she 
wished him to understand that he had no business there 

As Blair passed him on her way out she said to him in a 
whisper, with a low laugh : 

" That's a yarn. I do nearly all the cooking since our 
cook went off, but she thinks it's beneath my dignity to be 
caught at it." 

They did not go into the house, but walked over through 
the grove and sat down on the grass on the farther slope 
overlooking the rolling lands, with the blue spurs in the dis- 
tance. There Middleton threw himself at Blair's feet. lie 
had made up his mind to stake all before he left. As the 
old mammy passed from the kitchen to the house she made 
a little detour and cast a glance through the grove. The 
glint of a white dress through the trees caught her eye, and 
she gave a little sniff as she went on. 

An hour later, Middleton, his face as grave as it had ever 
been in battle, mounted his horse and rode away without 
returning to the house, and Blair Gary walked back througli 
the grove alone. She turned across to the smaller house 
which the old mammy occupied. It was empty, and she 
entered and flung herself on the snowy counterpaned bed. 

The old woman came in a moment later. She gave the 
girl a swift glance, and, turning to the window, dropped 
the white curtain to shut out the slanting afternoon sun. 

'"Taint no use to 'sturb yo'self, honey ; he ain' gone." 


she said, sympathizingly. " He comin' back jest so sho' as 
I live." 

" He has gone/' said Blair, suddenly, with some vehe- 
mence. "I have sent him away. I wish he had never 
come." But was she thinking of Middleton ? 

The old woman had turned and was looking down at her 
from where she stood. 

''An' I glad you is," she said. "I ain't like Yankees, 
no way. Dat deah Leech man " 

*' Mammy," said Blair, rising, " I do not wish you to 
speak so of a gentleman — who — who has been our guest." 

''Yes, honey, dat's so," said the old woman, simply, 
without the least surprise. " Mammy, won't say no more 
about him. What I got to do wid abusin' a gent'man, no- 
how ! " 

"Oh ! Mammy ! " said the girl, throwing her arms about 
her, and the old woman only said : 

" Yes, honey — yes — yes. But don't you pester yoreself. 
'"T'll all come right." 

Next evening the news that Middleton and his company 
were ordered away was known. Jacquelin was conscious 
of his heart giving a bound of joy. He would be only 
cool and chilling to Blair and show her by his manner 
how disapprovingly he regarded her conduct. After a lit- 
tle, this mood changed and he began to think it would be 
more manly to be only very dignified and yet show her that 
he was above harboring little feelings. He would be gen- 
erous and forgive her. When, however, he met Blair, she 
was so far from showing any contrition, that she was actu- 
ally savage to him; so that instead of having an opportunity 
to display his lofty feelings, Jacquelin found himself thrown 
into a situation of the strongest hostility to her, and after 
a lifetime of friendship they scarcely spoke. Their friends 
tried to patch up the quarrel, but in vain. Jacquelin felt 
himself now really aggrieved, and Blair declined to allow 
even the mention of him. Her severity toward him was 
almost incomprehensible. 



The difference between the old company and the new 
one which came in its place, was marked in many ways 
besides color, and the latter had, not been in the county an 
hour before the people knew that the struggle was on, and 
set themselves to prepare for it. 

The evening of the arrival of the new company, Jerry 
entered Captain Allen's office somewhat hastily, and busied 
himself with suspicious industry. Presently Steve looked 
at him amusedly. 

" Well, what do you want now ? — grandmother dead 
again ? If you get drunk I'll thrash you within an inch 
of your life." 

Jerry giggled. 

"Done sent a company o' niggers heali," he announced, 
with something very like a grin as he cut his eyes at his 

"Negroes — hey?" Steve's expression did not change 
a particle, and Jerry looked disappointed. If anything, 
there was a little more light in Steve's eyes, but they were 
gazing out of the window, and Jerry could not see them. 

" Leech back ?" asked Mr. Allen, indifferently. 

"Don' know, suli — I'll fine out." The look on Jerry's 
face once more became pleasant. 

Just then the sound of a distant bugle came in at the 
window, and Steve rose and walked to the door of his office. 
The doors of several other offices were filled about the same 
moment. Steve walked down to the fence in front of tlie 
court green, and stood leaning against it listlessly, watcliing 



as the company came up the road, with bugle blowing, dust 
rising, and a crowd of young negroes running beside them. 

*' Halt !" The Captain, a stout, red-faced man, turned 
his horse, and waved his sword to the negroes in the road. 
"Pull that fence down.'' He indicated the panel where 
Steve stood, adding a string of oaths to stir the negroes 
from their dnlness. A dozen men Jumped toward the 
fence. Steve never budged an inch. With his arms rest- 
ing on the rail, he looked the Captain in the eye calmly, 
then looked at the negroes before him, and kept his place. 
Except for a slight dilatation of the nostrils he might not 
have known that there was a soldier within a hundred 
miles. The men hesitated a second, then, just as the Cap- 
tain began to swear again, ran to the next panel and tore 
it down even with the ground, dragging the posts out of 
their holes, and making a wide breach through which the 
company passed into the court-yard to the old camp which 
Middleton's company had occupied. 

As Steve turned away he said to a man near him : 

" Seventy-nine negroes, and three white men. We can 
manage them. Jerry, saddle my horse, and find out when 
Leech is coming back — and where Captain McEaffle is." 

" Yes, suh," and Jerry, with a shrewd look, disappeared. 

When Jerry returned, his master was writing, and as he 
did not look np, Jerry went into the inner room, and 
sliortly brought out a pair of saddle-bags, and a pair of 

Steve had just finished his letters, and was sealing them. 
Jerry gave his report. 

" Nor, suh, he ain' come yet ; but dee's 'spectin' of him, 
de Cap'n says. Cap'n McRaffle, he's away, too." 

"I thought as much. Take this letter over to the Gen- 
eral. These two are for Mr. Hurley and Mr. Garden. If 
I'm not here, come up to Dr. Gary's to-morrow morning." 

"Yes, suh— yo' horse is in de stable. I'll take de saddle 
bags over dyah." 

Steve buckled one pistol on under his coat, put the other 


in his saddle-bags, and went out. He sauntered across 
to where the company was pitching camp. The throng of 
negroes was already increasing. A tall, black sergeant, 
with great pompoiisness, was superintending the placing 
of the lines, cursing and damning his men, Avith much im- 
portance, for the benefit of the crowd around. Sweeping 
the crowd aside, Steve walked right up to him. 

*' Boy, whereas your Captain ?'' The Sergeant turned 
and faced him. Perhaps, had Steve been ten feet off the 
soldier might have been insolent ; but Captain Allen was 
close up to him, and there was that about him, and the 
tone of command in which he spoke, which demanded 
obedience. The Sergeant instinctively pointed to the 
other side of the camp. 

" Go and tell him that Captain Allen wishes to speak to 
him. Go on.'^ Impelled by the tone of authority, the 
imperative gesture, and the evident impression made on 
the crowd, the Sergeant moved off, with Steve at his heels. 

" Dat's one o' my young marsters — he wuz a gret soldier," 
said one of the old negroes just outside the camp to a squad 
near him. 

Steve and the Sergeant found the Captain sitting against 
a tree smoking. He was a heavy-looking man, with a red 
face. Steve took in the familiarity with which the Ser- 
geant addressed him, and goveriied himself accordingly. 

" Here, boy — " Steve gave the negro a five-dollar note, 
not the less coolly because it was his last ; thanked him as 
he would have done any other servant, only, perhaps, with 
a little more condescension, and addressed himself to the 

" Captain, I am Captain Allen, and I have come to have 
an understanding with you at the outset." 

Perhaps, his very assurance stood him in stead. Had he 
been a victor dictating terms he could not have done it 
more coolly. 

" You have seventy-nine men and three officers — I have 
ten times as many." 


" Major Leech — told me — " began the Captain. 

''Your Major Leech is a liar, and a coward, and yon 
will find it so. We propose to obey the laws, but we do 
not mean to be governed by negroes, and if yon attempt it 
yon. will commit a great mistake." He walked back through 
the camp inspecting the horses, leaving th-e other to wonder 
who and what he could be. 

Ten minutes later the officer had called a guard, but 
Steve was already riding out the back lane toward the up- 
per part of the county. . 

Leech arrived on the next train after that which brought 
the new troops. He opened a law office in a j)art of the 
building occupied by his commissary, and announced him- 
self as a practitioner of the law, as well as the Provost of 
the county. 

He had evidently strengtheued his hands during his ab- 
sence. Krafton, who appeared now to be the chief author- 
ity in the State, was in constant communication with him. 

Leech boasted openly that he had had Middleton's com- 
pany removed, and he began to exercise new functions. 
The new company seemed to be under his authority. 

Within a few weeks Dr. Gary and the other civil officers 
in the county received notices from Leech vacating their 
commissions on the ground, among others, that they had 
exceeded their powers. Still was appointed Justice of the 
Peace in place of Dr. Gary, and Nicholas Ash was made 
Gonstable. Their services were not in immediate requisi- 
tion, however, as, for the time being. Leech appeared to pre- 
fer to exercise his military, rather than his civil, powers. 
He began, forthwith, to send out the soldiers in squads on 
tours throughout the county, partly to distribute rations, 
and partly to patrol the country. 

They had not been at this business long when they be- 
gan bully iug and tyrannizing over the people and terroriz- 
ing them as far as possible. At first, they devoted their 
energies principally to the whites, and the negroes were 
both impressed and affected by their power and insolence 


But after more than one of the marauders were shot, they 
began to go in large parties, and soon turned their energies 
against the negroes as well as against the former masters, 
and were quickly almost as obnoxious to the blacks as to 
the whites. Their action caused intense excitement in the 

Steve Allen had almost abandoned his law practice, or at 
least his office, and spent his time visiting about in the ad- 
joining counties. Leech took it as a sign of timidity and 
breathed the freer that the insolent young lawyer was away. 

"I mean to drive him and that Jacquelin Gray out of 
the county,'^ he boasted to Still. '*I'll make it too hot 
for him." 

" Wish you could," answered Still, devoutly. " But 
don't you go too fast. They ain't the sort to drive easy. 
They was taken up late. And if you push 'em too hard 
there'll be trouble." 

Leech sneered. He wished Allen would do something 
so he might get his hand on him. 

" You don't mean nothin to you 9 'Cause if he got 
his hand on you first " 

" No — I ain't afraid of him. He ain't such a fool as to 
do anything to me. I am the Government of the United 
States !" The Provost puffed out his bosom, and with a 
look of satisfaction glanced at himself in a mirror. 

" He ain't afeared of the Gov'ment or nothin' else. I 
wish he was," declared Still, sincerely. 

" Well, he'd better be," asserted Leech. " As soon as 
1 get things straight, I mean to make him give an account 
of himself." 

Someone soon gave an account of himself. A consid- 
erable party of the men of the negro troop, under com- 
mand of a sergeant, was ''raiding," one afternoon, in the 
upper end of the county, when an incident occurred 
which had a signal effect on ])oth the company and the 
county. They had already " raided " several places on 
their tour and were on their way home, their saddle-bows 


ornamented with the trophies of their rajmcity: from sheep 
to ladies' bonnets, when toward sunset they stopped near 
the edge of the Eed Eock phmtation, at a roadside store, 
of which Mr. Andy Stamjoer had recently become the owner. 
Mr. Stamper was absent, and the store was in charge 
of his agent, an old soldier named Michael. 

The men demanded liquor. They took all they wanted, 
and called in a number of negroes and made them 
drunk also. Old Waverley, who had come to the store 
to make some little purchases, was sitting on a block, 
smoking. Him they tried to induce to drink too, and 
when he declined, they hustled him a good deal and 
finally kicked him out into tlie road. He was a " worth- 
less old fool who didn't deserve to be free," they said. 
Then in their drunken folly they began to talk of going 
to Eed Eock and ordering supper before returning to 
camp. It would be a fine thing to take possession of that 
big house and have supper, and they would raid Stamper's 
also on the way. They knew all about both places, and 
declared that they ought both to be burnt down. Mean- 
time, they demanded more liquor, which the storekeeper 
seemed suddenly ready to furnish. He made a sign to old 
Waverley, and the latter slipped off and took a path 
through the woods. The nearest place was a little home- 
stead on the roadside, belonging to a man named Deals ; 
but there was no one there but a woman ; her husband 
had gone up to Mr. Stamper's, she told Waverley. So 
warning her as to the squad of negroes, the old man set 
out as hard as he could for home. Before he was through 
the woods, however, he met Eupert, riding down to the 
store on his colt, a handsome gray, and to him he gave 
notice, telling him that the store-keeper was doing what 
he conld to hold the men there. Eupert wheeled his 
horse, and was off like a shot, and when Waverley 
emerged from the woods, he saw the boy a half mile away, 
dashing up — not to Eed Eock ; but to the Stamper place, 
which stood out, off to one side, clear on its little hill, a 


straight column of smoke going np in the still evening air. 
It seemed to the old man that there were a number of 
liorses standing about in the yard, and it occurred to him 
to wonder if the soldiers could possibly have gotten there 
already. If so, his young master would be in danger of 
being hurt. But if the horsemen were soldiers they did 
not remain long ; for in a few minutes Waverley saw a 
number of men mount and the whole party ride rajjidly 
away down the hill, with Rupert on his gray colt among 
them. Waverley caught one more glimpse of the riders 
as they disappeared at a gallop in the wood, going in the 
direction of the store, and then he hurried on to Red Rock, 
where he found everything quiet. 

Jacquelin was ill in bed that day, and Steve Allen had 
left the house about noon. Rupert had gone to the store 
for the maik Waverley did not tell anything about having 
seen Rupert go off with the men from Stamper's ; but he 
turned and hurried back to the store, thinking now only 
of Rupert. He had not gone far when he heard a shot or 
two fired, and then on a sudden a dozen or more. The 
old fellow broke into a run. When he reached the edge 
of the woods from which he could see the Deals's home- 
stead he stopped appalled. 

A half dozen negroes lay on the ground dead or dying, 
and a half dozen young white men, among them Captain 
McRaffle, were engaged either reloading their jiistols or 
talking. Rupert was sitting on his horse at a little dis- 

The little company of men Waverley had seen were a 
few who had gathered together on hearing of the raid tliat 
was taking place in the neighborhood that day. They too 
had heard of the contemplated visit to Red Rock and the 
Stamper place ; for Jerry had got from someone that 
morning a hint that a descent was to be made on these 

Shortly after Waverley had left the store the squad of 
soldiers had started for Red Rock ; but, thinking to make 


a clean sweep as they went, they had stopped at the little 
house on the way, where Waverley had warned the woman 
and where there was a well, to take another drink. They 
were engaged in the pleasant amusement of looting this 
place, shooting chickens, etc., when the company that 
Waverley had seen ride off from Stamper's came upon them. 
It was well for Mrs. Deals that the young men arrived when 
they did, for the troopers were tired of merely destroying 
property, and Just as the white men rode up tliey had 
seized her. Her scream hastened the rescuing party. 
No one knew for a long time who composed the party ; 
for in five minutes every one of the raiders was stretched on 
the ground, and the two or three neighborhood-negroes 
who were with them were sworn to secrecy under threats 
which they feared too much to wish to break their oaths. 
There was excitement enougli in the county that night, 
and when the news reached the court-house, which, owing 
to the picketing of the roads, it did not do till next morn- 
ing, the citizens were prepared for the consequences. The 
comrades of the dead men swore they would burn the vil- 
lage and carry fire and sword through the county ; but it 
was too grave a matter to be carried through too heed- 
lessly. The officers suddenly awoke to the gravity of the 
situation, which was well for them. They were, no doubt, 
aided in doing so by the appearance of two or three 
hundred grave - looking men who were riding into town 
by every road that led to it, silent and dusty and 
grim. They were of every age and condition, and they 
lacked just order enough not to a})pear marching troops ; 
but showed enough to seem one body. They were all seri- 
ous and silent, and with that something in their deliberate 
movements which, whether it be mere resolution or des- 
peration, impresses all who behold it. The negroes about 
the village who had been in a flurry of excitement since 
the news came and had been crowding about the camp 
shouting and yelling, suddenly settled down and melted 
out of sight, and even the soldiers quieted at the appear- 

194 IJKl) ROCK 

ance of that steadily increasing force of resolute and or- 
derly men gathered- along the fences, facing the camp. 
General Legale and Dr. Gary were their spokesmen, 
and they held an interview with the Gaptain, in which 
they gave him to understand certain things : They would 
obey his orders, they said, if he sent them by a single 
messenger ; but if armed bodies of negroes continued to 
ravage the country they would not be responsible for the 

Leech was not to be found that afternoon. He had 
"gone to the city." Jerry learned afterward and told 
Gaptain Allen that he did not go until that night, and that 
when the crowd was there he was hidden at Hiram Still's. 

An investigation of the outbreak was held, and as a con- 
sequence Gaptain McRaifle and several young men left the 
county, among them Rupert Gray, who was sent off to 
school to an academy which was not known to the neigh- 
bors generally. Another result was that the old county 
got a bad name with those who were controlling the des- 
tiny of the State, which clung to it for many years. Andy 
Stamper was arrested for the affair, and was taken, hand- 
cuffed, by Leech and thrown in jail. Fortunately for him, 
however, it was shown that he was absent from the county 
that day, and he was discharged. All of these things, 
however, at the time were little cared for by the residents 
there, for the negro troop was removed and two white 
companies were sent in its place. The disorder breaking 
out wherever negro trooj^s were stationed had attracted 
attention and caused the substitution of white soldiers. 



Jacquelin had never recoyered from the rough hand- 
ling which he had received that night from Leech. His 
wound had broken out afresh and he was now confined to 
his bed all the time. There was one cause which, i^erhaps, 
more than all the rest, weighed him dov/n, and that, cer- 
tainly. Dr. Gary did not know, though, no doubt, Mrs. 
Cary and Mrs. Gray knew. It was a secret wound, deeper 
than that which Dr. Cary was treating. He had never been 
the same since the evening of his misunderstanding with 
Blair Cary. The affair in which the negro soldiers were 
killed, and Eupert's and Steve's jjart in it, with the neces- 
sity of sending Eupert away, and the consequences which 
followed, seemed to be the finishing stroke, and it appeared 
to be only a question of a few months with Jacquelin. 

One other reason for his anxiety Dr. Cary had. Ee- 
ports of threats made by Leech came to the Doctor. 

" Another arrest, and he will go/' said Dr. Cary. " We 
must get him away. Send him first to a city where he 
can have better surgical treatment than he is able to re- 
ceive in the country. Then, when he is fit for it, put him 
on a sailing vessel and send him around the world." How 
cleverly he had managed it, thought the Doctor ! 

Mrs. Gray also had her own reasons for wishing to get 
Jacquelin away, though they were not mainly what Dr. 
Cary thought. With a keener insight than the good Doc- 
tor had, she had seen Blair Gary's change and its effect on 
Jacquelin. And she eagerly sought to carry out the Doc- 
toi"'s suggestions. The chief difficulty in the way was 



want of funds. The demands of the plantation, according 
to Mr. Still's account, had been enough of late to consume 
everything that Avas made on it. The negroes had to be 
supported whether they worked or not, and the estate was 
running behind. 

The Doctor felt certain he could manage the matter of 
means. Hiram Still had just offered to lend him a further 
sum. Indeed, Still had himself brought up the matter of 
Jacquelin's health, and had even asked the Doctor if lie did 
not think a long visit somewhere might do Jacquelin good. 

'' He is a strange mixture, that man Still. He is un- 
doubtedly a very kind-hearted man," asserted the Doctor. 

Mrs. Gray did not altogether agree with her cousin in 
his estimate of Still ; she had her own oj^iniou of him ; 
but she was somewhat mollified by hearing of his interest 
in Jacquelin's welfare. She could not, however, allow lier 
cousin to borrow money in his own name on her account, 
but, in the face of Jacquelin's steady decline, she finally 
yielded and bowed her pride so far as to permit the Doctor 
to borrow it for her, only stij^ulating that the plate and 
pictures in the house should be pledged to secure it. This 
would relieve her 2)artly from personal obligations to Still. 
One other stipulation she made : that Jacquelin was not to 
know of tlie loan. 

When the Doctor applied to Still he obtained the loan 
without difficulty, and Still, having taken an assignment 
of the plate and pictures, agreed without hesitation to his 
condition of silence, even exjiressing the deepest interest 
in Jacquelin's welfare, and reiterating his protestations of 
friendship for him and Mrs. Gray. 

" It is the most curious thing," said the Doctor to Mrs. 
Gary, afterward: "I never apply to that man without 
his doing what I ask. I always expect to be refused. I 
am always surprised — and yet my suspicion is not relieved 
— I do not know why it is. I think I nnist be a very sus- 
picious man." 

Mrs. Gary's mouth shut closely. But she would not add 


to her linshancFs worries by a snggestion, the very idea of 
which she thought was an indignity. 

" I wish you had not applied to him/' she said. " I 
do not want to be under any obligations to him whatever. 
I do not think Helen should have asked it of you." 

" Oh ! my dear ! " said the Doctor. " She didn't ask it 
of me, I offered it to her," 

" I cannot bear him/' declared Mrs. Gary, with the tone 
of one who delivers a convincing argument. " And the 
son is more intolerable than the father. It requires all my 
politeness to prevent my asking him out of the house when- 
ever he comes. He comes here entirely too often." 

" My dear, he is a young doctor who is trying to practise 
his profession, and needs advice," expostulated the old 
doctor, but Mrs. Gary was not to be convinced. 

" A young doctor, indeed ! a young — " The rest of the 
sentence was lost as she went out with her head in the air. 

When the matter of removing Jacquelin was broached to 
him, a new and unexpected difficulty arose. He refused 
to go. The idea of his getting better treatment than Dr. 
Gary was able to give was, he said, all nonsense, and they 
could not stand the expense of such a plan as was proposed. 
In this emergency his mother was forced to bow her pride. 
She summoned Blair Gary as an ally. Blair yielded so far 
as to add an expression of her views to the mother's, be- 
cause she did not know Iioav to refuse ; but, with a wom- 
an's finesse, she kept herself within limitations, which 
Jacquelin, at least, would understand. She came over on 
a visit, and went in to see him, and took occasion to say 
that she thought he ought to go to the city. It was a 
very prim and stiff little speech that she made. Jacque- 
lin's face showed the first tinge of color that had been on it 
for months, as he turned his eyes to her almost eagerly. 
So impassive, though, was she, that the tinge faded out. 

*' Do you ask me to go ? " 

" JSTo — I have nothing to do with it. I only think you 
ought to do what your mother wishes." The mouth was 


closer than usual. There was a little deeper color in her 
face now. 

*' Oh ! it was only a moral idea you wished to inculcate ? " 

*' If you choose to call it so." The mouth drew closer. 

"Well— will you ask me ?" 

" I don't mind doing it — for your mother." It was no 
accident that a woman was chosen to be the oracle at Deljjhi. 
Jacquelin could make no more of the face before him than 
if he had never seen it before, and he had studied it for 

Jacquelin agreed to go to the hosjDital. So he was sent 
off to the city, where an operation was performed to re- 
move some of the splintered bone and relieve him. And 
as soon as he was well enough he was sent off on a sailing 
vessel trading to China. He thus escaped the increasing 
afflictions that were coming on the county, and his mother, 
who would have torn out her heart for him, for fear he 
Avould come home if he knew the state of affairs, kej^t every- 
thing from him, and bore her burdens alone. 

The burdens were heavy. 

The next few years Avhicli passed brought more changes 
to the old county than any years of the war. The war had 
destroyed the Institution of slavery ; the years of the carpet- 
bagger's domination well-nigh destroyed the South. As 
Miss Thomasia said, sighing, it was the fulfilment of the 
old prophecy: "After the sword shall come the canker- 
worm." And the Doctor's speech was recalled by some : 
*' You ask for war, but you do not know what it is. A 
fool can start a conflagration, but the Sanhedrim cannot 
stop it. AVar is never done. It leaves its baleful seed for 

Dr. Gary, when he uttered this statement, had little idea 
how true it was. 

Events had proved that although the people were im- 
poverished, their spirit was not broken. Unhappily, the 
power was in the hands of those who did not understujul 
them, and Leech and his fellows had their ear. It was 


deemed proper to put them in absolute control. Leech 
wrote the authorities that he and liis party must have power 
to preserve the Union ; he wrote to Mrs. Welch that tliej 
must have it to j)reserve the poor freedmen. The authori- 
ties promised it, and kept the promise. It was insanity. 

One provision gave the ballot to the former slave, just as 
it was taken from the former master. An act was so 
shrewdly framed that, while it appeared simply to be in- 
tended to secure loyalty to the Union, it was aimed to strike 
from the rolls of citizenship almost the entire white pop- 
ulation of the South ; that is, all who would not swear 
they had never given aid or comfort to the Confederacy. 
It was so all-embracing that it came to be known as the 
*' ironclad " oath. 

*' It is the greatest Revolution since the time of Poland/' 
said l^r. Gary, his nostrils dilating with ire. " They have 
thrown down the man of intelligence, character, and 
property, and have set up the slave and the miscreant. 
' Syria is confederate with Ephraim.' More is yet to come.'' 

" It is the salvation of the Union," wrote Leech to Mrs. 
Welch, who was the head of an organization that sent boxes 
of clothes to the negroes through Leech. Leech was be- 
ginning to think himself the Union. 

While General Legale and Steve Allen were discussing 
constitutional rights and privileges, and declaring that they 
would never yield assent to any measures of the kind pro- 
posed, a more arbitrary act than these was committed : 
the State itself was suddenly swept out of existence, and a 
military government was substituted in its place ; the very 
name of the State on which those gentlemen and their an- 
cestors had prided themselves for generations was extin- 
guished and lost in that of " Military District, Number 
." The old State, with all others like it, ceased to be. 

Colonel Krafton was the chief authority in that part of 
the State, and Major Leech, as he was now called, was his 
representative in the county. And between them they had 
the enforcement of all the measures that were adopted. 


When their hands were deemed strong enough, it was de- 
termined to give them the form of popular government. 

It was an easy process ; for the wliites had been disfran- 
chised, and only the negroes and those who had taken the 
ironclad oath could vote. 

At the first election that was held under the new system, 
tlie spectacle was a curious, one. Krafton was the candidate 
for governor. Most of the disfranchised whites stayed 
away, haughtily or sullenly, from the polls, where ballots 
were cast under a guard of soldiers. But others went to 
see the strange sight, and to vent their derision on the de 
tested officials who were in charge. Dr. Gary and General 
Legale, with most men of their age and stamp, remained 
at home in haughty, and impotent indignation. 

" Why should I go to see my former wagon-driver stand- 
ing for the seat my grandfather resigned from the United 
States Senate to take ? " asked General Legaie, proudly. 

Steve Allen and Andy Stamper, however, and many of 
the young men were on hand. 

Leech and Nicholas Ash were the candidates for the Leg- 
islature, and Steve went to the poll where he thought it 
likely Leech would be. Steve had become a leader among 
tlie whites. Both men knew that it was now a fight to the 
finish between them, and both always acted in full con- 
sciousness of the fact. Leech counted on his power, and 
the force he could always summon to his aid, to hold Steve 
in check until he should have committed some rashness 
which would enable him to destroy him. Steve was con- 
scious that Leech v/as personally afraid of him, and he 
relied on this fact — taking every occasion to assert him- 
self—as the master of a treacherous animal keeps ever 
lacing him, holding him with the spell of an unflinching 

The negroes were led in lines to cast their votes. 

It was a notable thing that in all the county there was 
not an angry word that day between a white man and a 
negro. Leech, in a letter to Mrs. Welch describing the 


occasion, declared that the quietness with which the elec- 
tion passed off was due wholly to the presence gf the 
soldiery, and he was very eloquent in his denunciation of 
the desperadoes who surrounded him, and who were held 
at bay only by fear of the bayonets about them. But this 
was not true. The situation was too novel not to be in- 
teresting, and there was feeling, but it was suppressed. It 
was a strange sight, the polls guarded by soldiers ; the 
men who had controlled the country standing by, disfran- 
chised, and the lines of blacks Avho had just been slaves, 
and not one in one hundred of whom could read their bal- 
lots, voting on questions which were to decide the fate 
of the State. There were many gibes flung at the new 
voters by the disfranchised spectators, but they were mainly 

" Whom are you voting for. Uncle Gideon ? " asked 
Steve of one of the ok] Red Eock negroes. 

"Marse Steve, you know who I votin' for better'n I 
does myself." 

To another : 

" Whom are you voting for ? " 

" Gi' me a little tobacker, Marse Steve, an' I'll tell 
you." And when it was given, he turned to the crowd : 
" Who is I votin' for ? I done forgit. Oh ! yes — old Mr. 
Linkum — ain' dat he name ?" 

" AVell, he's a good one to vote for — he's dead," said 

"Hi ! is he? When did he die ?" protested the old 
man in unfeigned astonishment. 

*'You ain' votin' for him — you'se votin' for Mist' 
Grant," explained another younger negro, indignant at the 
old man's ignorance. 

"Is I ? Who's he ? He's one I ain' never heard on, 
Marse Steve, I don' know who I votin' for — I jis know 
I votin', dat's all." 

This raised a laugh at Steve's expense which was led by 
Leech, and to atone for it the old servant added : 


''I done forgit de gent'man's name." 

" The gentlemen you are voting for are Leech and 
Nicholas Ash/' said Steve. 

*' Marse Steve, you know dey ain' no gent'mens," said the 
old fellow, undisturbed by the fact that Leech was present. 

"Uncle Tom, you know something, anyhow," said 
Steve, enjoying the Provost's discomfiture. 

The only white man of any note in the upper end of the 
county who took the new " ironclad " oath was Hiram 
Still. Andy Stamper met him after Hiram had voted. 
Still tried to dodge him. 

*' Don't run, Hiram," said the little Sergeant, con- 
temptuously, " I ain't a going to hurt ye. The war's over. 
If I had known at the time you was givin' the Yanks in- 
formation, I might 'a' done it once — and I would advise 
you, Hiram, never to give 'em too much information about 
me now. You've already giv' 'em too much once about 
me. See there ? " He stretched out his arm and showed 
a purple mark on his wrist. It was the scar that had been 
left by the handcuff when he was arrested for the riot at 
Deal's, '^It won't come out. You understand?" The 
little fellow's eyes shot at the renegade so piercing a glance 
that Still cowered and muttered that he had nothing to do 
with him one way or another. 

" Maybe, if you didn't give no aid and comfort to tlie 
rebels you'd like to give me back that little piece of pa2)C'!' 
you took from my old mother to secure the price of that 
horse you let me have to go back in tlie army ?" drawled 
Stamper, while one or two onlookers laughed. 

The renegade made his escape as quickly as jiossible. 

Still's reply to the contempt that was visited on him was 
to bring suit on the bonds he held. Leech was his coun- 
sel. One of the first suits was against Andy Stamper. 
Andy was promptly sold out under the deed which had 
been given during the war ; the place was bouglit by Still, 
and Andy and Delia rented another little house. This 
was only the beginning, however. 


When Still flung awtiy his mask, he went as far as he 
dared. It was now open war, and he had thrown in his 
fortune with the other side. 

Dr. Gary received a note one morning from Mrs. Gray 
asking him to come and see her immediately. He found 
her in a state of agitation very unusual with her. She 
had the night before received a letter from Still, stating 
that he was a creditor of her husband's estate and held his 
bonds for over fifty thousand dollars. Mrs. Gray had 
known that there were some outstanding debts of her 
husband due him, though she had supposed they were 
nearly paid off — but fifty thousand dollars ! It would 
take the whole estate ! 

" Why, it is incredible," declared the Doctor. " Quite 
incredible ! The man is crazy. You need give yourself 
no uneasiness whatever about it. I will see him and clear 
up the whole matter." 

Yet, even as the Doctor spoke, he recalled certain hints 
of Still's, dropped from time to time, recently, as to bal- 
ances due by his former employer on old accounts con- 
nected with his Southern estate, and Mr. Gray was a very 
easy man, thought the Doctor, who believed himself one of 
the keenest and most methodical of men. 

Women love to have encouragement from men, even 
though they may feel the reverse of what they are told to 
believe. So Mrs. Gray and Miss Thomasia were more 
comforted than they could have found ground for. 

AVhen Dr. Gary did look into the matter, to his amaze- 
ment he found that the bonds were in existence. Still gave 
the account of them which he had already given to Leech, 
and produced some corroborative evidence in the shaj^e of 
letters relating to the transaction of buying and stocking 
the sugar plantation. There was hope for awhile that the 
writers of the letters might be able to throw some light on 
the matter, but, on investigation, it turned out that they 
were without exception dead, and Mrs. Gray herself, on 
seeing tbe big bond, pronounced it genuine, and declared 


that slie remembered her husband once spoke of it, though 
she thouglit he had told her it was all settled. She hunted 
all through his j^ajjerS;, but though she found other boiuls 
of his which he had taken in she could find no record of 
this big one, Jacquelin was written to, but in his reply 
he said that no matter what the cost, he wanted his 
father's debts paid. So no defence was made to the suit 
which Still had instituted by Leech as his counsel, and 
judgment was obtained by default. And soon afterward 
the Red Rock place, with everything on it, was sold under 
this judgment and was bought in by Still for less than 
the amount of his claim. 

Jacquelin was still abroad and Mrs. Gray j^urposely kept 
him in ignorance of what was going on; for her chief 
anxiety at this time was to prevent Jacquelin from return- 
ing home until all this matter was ended. He had written 
that his health was steadily imjiroving. 

Mrs. Gray did not remain at Red Rock twenty -four 
hours after Still became its owner. She and Miss Tho- 
masia moved next day to Dr. Gary's, where they were 
offered a home. She congratulated herself anew that 
morning that Jacquelin was yet absent. 

Mrs. Gray and Miss Thomasia walked out with their 
heads up, bidding good-by to their old servants, who had 
assembled outside of the house, their faces full of concern 
and sorrow. 

There was hardly a negro on the place who was not there. 
However they might follow Still in politics, they had not 
yet learned to forget the old ties that bound tliem in other 
matters to their old masters, and they were profoundly af- 
fected by this step, which they could all appreciate. 

"I drives you away, my mistis," said the driver, old 
Waverley. " I prays Gord I may live to drive you back." 

" Not me, Waverley ; but, maybe, this boy," said Mrs. 
Gray, laying her hand on Rupert's shoulder. 

*' Yes'm, we heah him say he comin' back," said the old 
driver, with pride. " Gord knows we hopes so." 


Just then Hiram Still, accompanied by Leech, rode up 
into the yard. He had evidently kept himself informed as 
to Mrs. Gray's movements. He rode across the grass and 
gave orders to the negroes to clear away. Mrs. Gray took 
not the least notice of him, but, outraged by his insolence, 
Eupert suddenly sprang forward and denounced him pas- 
sioiuitely. His mother checked him : " Rupert, my son." 
But the boy was wild with anger. "We are coming back 
some day," he cried to Still. " You have robbed us ; but 
wait till my brother returns." 

Both Still and Leech laughed, and Still ostentatiously 
ordered the negroes off. Still moved in that afternoon. 

Before Still had been installed in his new mansion 
twenty-four hours he repented of his indiscretion, if not 
of his insolence. He was absent a part of the evening, 
and on his return he heard that Captain Allen had been 
to see him. The faCe of the servant who gave the message 
told more than the words he delivered. 

" What did he want ? " Still asked, sharply. 

" He say he want to see you, and he want to see you 
pussonally." The negro looked significant. 

*' Well, he knows where to find me." 

■** Yes, he say he gicine fine you — dat's huccome he come, 
an' he gwine keej) on till he do fine you," Still's heart 

" I don't know what he wants with me," he growled, as 
he turned away and went into the house. The great hall 
filled with pictures had never looked so big or so dark. 
The eyes fastened on him from the walls seemed to search 
him. Those of the *' Indian-Killer" pierced him wher- 
ever he went. 

*' Curse them; they are all alike," he growled. "1 

wish I had let them have the d d rubbish. I would, 

but for having to take that one down." 

Poor Virgy, who had been given the room that had for- 
merly been Jacquelin's, came toward him. She was scared 
and lonely in her new surroundings, and had been crying. 


This increased her father's ill-humor. He inquired if she 
had seen Captain Allen. She had, but he had only bowed 
to her ; all he had said was to the servant, 

*' Did he seem excited ?" Still asked. 

"No, he only looked quiet, lie looked like one of 
those pictures up there." It was an unlucky illustration. 
Her father broke out on her so severely that she ran to her 
own room weeping. It was only of late that he had begun 
to be so harsh. 

Still, left alone, sat down and without delay wrote a let- 
ter to Captain Allen, expressing regret that he had been 
away when he called. He also wrote a letter to Dr. Cary, 
which he sent out that night, ajiologizing to Mrs. Gray and 
calliug heaven to witness that he had not meant to offend 
her, and did not even know she was on the place when he 
rode up. He did not wait for rej^lies. The next morning 
before daylight he left for the city. 

" I would not mind one of them," he complained to his 
counsel. Leech. " I'm as good a man as any one of 'em ; 
but you don't know 'em. They stick together like Ind- 
ians, and if one of 'em got hurt, the whole tribe would 
come down on me like hornets." 

" Wait till Ave get ready for 'em," counselled Leech. 
"AVe'll bring their pride down. We'll be more than a 
match for the whole tribe. Wait till I get in the Legis- 
lature ; I'll pass some laws that will settle 'em." His blue 
eyes were glistening and he was opening his hands and 
shutting tliem tightly in a way he had, as if he were crush- 
ing something in his palms. 

*' That's it— that's it," said Still, eagerly. 



When" Leech arrived at the capital in the capacity of 
stutesman he found the fiekl even better than he had antici- 
pated. It was a strange assembly that was gathered to- 
gether to reconstruct and make laws for a great State after 
years of revolution. The large majority were negroes who, 
a few years before, had been barbers, porters in hotels, 
cart-drivers, or body-servants, with a few new-comers to the 
State, like Leech himself : nomadic adventurers, who, on 
account of the smallness of their personal belongings, were 
termed ** carpet-baggers." Besides these, a few whites 
who, in hope of gain, had allied themselves with the new- 
comers ; and a small sprinkling of the old residents, who 
had either been Union men or had had their disabilities re- 
moved, and represented constituencies where there were 
few negroes. They were as distinguishable as statues in 
tlie midst of a mob. But the multitude of negroes who 
crowded the Assembly halls gave the majority an appear- 
ance of being overwhelming. They filled the porticos and 
vestibules, and thronged the corridors and galleries in a 
dense mass, revelling in their newly acquired privileges. 
The air was heavy with the smoke of bad cigars, which, 
however, was not wholly without use, as the scent of the 
tobacco served at least one good purpose ; the floors were 
slippery with tobacco-juice. The crowd was loud, pom- 
pous, and good-natured. Leech looked with curiosity on 
the curious spectacle. He had had no idea what a use- 
ful band of coadjutors he would have. He took a survey 



of the field and made his calculations quickly and with 
shrewdness. He would be a leader. 

"Looks like a corn-shuckin'/' said Still, who had ac- 
companied his friend to the capital to gee him take his seat. 
" A good head-man could get a heap of corn shucked." 

*' Does look a little like a checker-board/' assented 
Leech, "and I mean to be one of the kings. It's keep 
ahead or get run over in this ci'owd, and I'm smart as any 
of 'em. There's a good cow to milk, and the one as milks 
her first will get the cream." His metaphors were becom- 
ing bucolic, as befitted a man Avho was beginning to set up 
as a planter. 

" The cream's in the drij^pin's," corrected Still. 

" Not of this cow," said Leech. 

Leech soon came to be regarded as quite a financier. He 
talked learnedly of bonds and debentures, of per cents, and 
guarantees, and dividends, of which more than half the 
body did not even know the meaning. Once, when he was 
speaking of the thousands of " bonds " he would put on a 
railway to the mile, one of his confreres asked what he 
would put in so many barns. 

" Ain't you heah him say he's gwine have a million o' 
stock ?" asked another colored statesman, contemptuously. 
The answer was satisfactory. 

The amount of spoil which in time was found to be di- 
vided was something of which not even Leech himself, at 
first, had any idea. The railways, the public printing, in- 
surance, and all internal improvements, were fertile fields 
for the exercise of his genius. He w^^.s shortly an undis- 
puted power. He followed his simple rule : he led. 
AVhen someone offered a resolution to put down new mat- 
ting in the Assembly hall. Leech amended to substitute 
Bi'ussels carpet. To prove his liberality he added mahog- 
any furniture, and handsome pier-glasses. The bills Avcut 
up into the scores of thousands ; but that was nothing. 
As Leech said, they did not pay them. If rumors were true, 
not only did Leech not pay the bills, he partly received 


their proceeds. His aspirations were growing every day. 
He had no trouble in carrying his measures through. He 
turned his committee-room — or one of his rooms, for he 
had several — into a saloon, where he kept whiskey, cham- 
pagne, and cigars always free for those who were on his side. 
"Leech's bar "became a State institution. It v/as open 
night and day for the whole eight years of his service. He 
said he found it cheaper than direct payment, and then he 
lumped all the costs in one item and had them paid by one 
appropriation bill, as "sundries." Why should he pay, he 
asked, for expenditures which were for the public benefit ? 
And, indeed, why ? As for himself, he boasted with great 
pride when the matter came up at a later time, that he 
never touched a drop. 

He had "found the very field for his genius." He 
boasted to Still : " I always knew I had sense. Old Kraf- 
ton thinks he's running the party. But I'm a doin' it. 
Some day he'll wake up and find I'm not only a doin' that, 
but a runnin' the State too. I mean to be governor." His 
blue eyes twinkled pleasantly. 

" Don't wake him up too soon," counselled Still. 

One of the statesman's acts was to obtain a charter for 
a railway to run from the capital up through his county 
to the mountains. Among the incorporators were him- 
self, Hiram Still, Still's son, and Mr. Bolter. 

" How will you build this road ?" asked Mr. Haskelton, 
an old gentleman who had been a Union man always — one 
of the few old residents of the State in the body. 

" Oh ! we'll manage that," declared Leech, lightly. 
" We are going to teach you old moss-backs a few things." 
And they did. He had an act passed making the State 
guarantee the bonds. The old resident raised a question 
as to the danger to the credit of the State if it should go 
into the business of endorsing ^Drivate enterprises. 

"The credit of the State !" Leech exclaimed. "What 
is the credit of the State to us ? As long as the bonds sell 
she has credit, hasn't she ?" 


This argument was unanswerable. 

" But how will you pay these bonds ?" urged Mr. Has- 

" I will tell you how we will pay them ; we will pay 
them by taxes," replied Leech. 

"Ay-yi! Dat's it!" shouted the dusky throng about 

" Someone has to pay those taxes." 

" YeSj but who V Leech turned to his associates who 
were hanging on his words. " Do you pay them ? " 

" Nor, dat we don't," shouted Nicholas Ash. 

" No, the white people pay them — and we mean to 
make them pay them," declared Leech. 

This declaration was received with an outburst of ap- 
plause, not unmingled with laughter, for his audience had 
some appreciation of humor. 

"Lands will only stand so much tax," insisted his inter- 
locutor ; " if you raise taxes beyond this point you will de- 
feat your own purpose, for the lands will be forfeited. We 
cannot pay them. \Ye are already flat of our backs." 

''That's where we want you," retorted Leech, and there 
was a roar of approval. 

The old gentleman remained calm. 

" Then what will you do ?" he persisted. 

" Then we will take them ourselves," asserted Leech, 
boldly. He looked around on the dusky throng behind 
him, and up at the gallery, black Avith faces. " We Avill 
make the State give them as homes to the people who are 
really entitled to them. They know how to work them." 
A great shout of applause went up from floor and gallery. 
Only the old gentleman, gray and pallid, with burning 
eyes stood unmoved amid the tumult. 

*' You cannot do this. It will be robbery." 

The crowd, somewhat disturbed by his earnestness, 
looked at Leech to hear how he would meet this fact. 
He was equal to the emergency. 

"Kobbery, is it?" he shouted, waving his arms, and 


advancing down the aisle. " Then it is only paying 
robbery for robbery. You have been the robbers ! You 
robbed the Indians of these lands, to start with. You 
went to Africa and stole these free colored people from 
their hajDpy homes and made them slaves. You robbed 
them of their freedom, and you have robbed them ever 
since of their wages. Now you say we cannot pay them a 
little of what you owe them ? We will do it, and do it 
by law. We have the majority and by — ! we will make 
the laws. If you white gentlemen cannot pay the taxes 
on your homes, we'll put some colored ones there to get 
the benefit." He shook his hand violently in the vehe- 
mence of his speech. And again the crowd roared. 

" Don't shake your finger in my face," said the old man 
so quietly that only Leech heard it. He backed off. 

He became an undisputed leader. ''By — ! I had no 
idea I was such an orator," he said to Still, smiling. 

"1 haven't made such a speech as that since just before 
the war. I made that old coon admit he was fiat on his 

"A coon fights better on his back 'n' any other way," 
warned Still. 

"I'll put some hunters on this coon that will kee^? him 
quiet euough," said Leech. " I'll arm a hundred thousand 
niggers. " 

Leech made good his promises. The expenditures went 
up beyond belief. But to meet the expenses taxes were laid 
until they rose to double, quadruple, and, in some parts of 
the State, ten times what they had been. Meantime he had 
been in communication with Mr. Bolter, Avho had come 
down and paid him and Still a flying visit, and a part of 
the bonds of his railroad were ''placed." 

The taxes, as was predicted, went far beyond the ability 
of the landowners to pay them, and vast numbers of plan- 
tations throughout the State were forfeited. To meet 
this exigency. Leech was as good as his word. A measure 
was introduced and a Land Commission was appointed to 


take charge of such forfeited lands and sell them to his 
followers on long terms, of fifteen to twenty years. Leech 
was a member of the general Commission and Still was ap- 
pointed agent of the Board in his section of the State. 
Still was a very active commissioner — " efficient/' the 
Commission called him. 

Several places were sold which shortly were resold to 
Leech and Still. Leech added to a place he bonght on the 
edge of Bratusville, adjoining General Legaie's, the planta- 
tions of two old gentlemen near him. Sherwood had bonght 
one and Moses the other. Leech gave them " a fair ad- 
vance." He said it was "all square." He was now wait- 
ing for General Legaie's place. 

Leech built himself a large house, and furnished it with 
furniture richer than that in any other house in the county. 
It was rumored that he was preparing his house for Virgy 

Nicholas Ash bought a plantation and a buggy and be- 
gan to drive fast horses. Many of their fellow-lawmakers 
bloomed out in the same way. They were the only ones 
who now rode in carriages. Their proceedings did not 
affect themselves only. Tliey reached Dr. Cary and General 
Legale and the old proprietors on their plantations, quite 
as directly, though in the opposite way. The spoils that 
Leech, Still, Governor Krafton and their followers received, 
someone else paid. And just when they were needed most, 
the negroes abandoned the fields. No one could expect 
statesmen to work. Cattle, jewels, and plate were sold as 
long as they lasted, to meet the piled-up taxes ; but in time 
there was nothing left to sell, and the j^lantations began to 
go. In the Eed Rock neighborhood, rumors were abroad 
as to the destiny of the various jDlaces. A deeper gravity 
settled on Dr. Gary's serious face, and General Legaie's 
lively countenance was taking on an expression not far 
from grim. It was less the financial ruin that was over- 
whelming them than the dishonor to the State. It was a 
stab in their bosoms. 


Mr. Ledger was making inquiries as to the possibility 
of their reducing shortly their indebtedness to him, and 
the Doctor was forced to write him a fraiik statement of 
affairs. He had never worked so hard in his life, he wrote; 
he had never had so much practice ; but he could collect 
nothing, and it was all he could do to meet his taxes. 

"Why don't you collect your bills ?" naturally inquired 
Mr. Ledger. 

" Collect my bills ? •" rej)lied the Doctor. " How can I 
press my neighbors who are as poor, and poorer, than I am?" 

However, inspired by Mr. Ledger's application, the Doc- 
tor did try to collect some of the money due him. He 
did not send out his bills. He had never done that in his 
life. Instead, he rode around on a collecting-tour. He 
was successful in getting some money ; for he applied first 
to such of his debtors as were thriftiest. Andy Stamper, 
who had just returned from town Avhere he had been sell- 
ing sumac, chickens, and other produce, paid him with 
thanks the whole of his bill, and only expressed surprise 
that it was so small. " Why I thought. Doctor, 'twould 
be three or four times that ?" said Andy. " I've kept a 
sort of account of the times you've been to my house, and 
seems to me 't ought to be ? " 

" No, sir, that's all I have against you," said the Doctor, 
placidly ; replying earnestly to Andy's voluble thanks. 
"I am very much obliged to you." He did not tell Andy 
that he had divided his accounts by three and had had 
hard work to bring himself to apply for anything. 

This and one or two other instances in the beginning of 
his tour quite relieved the Doctor ; for they showed that, 
at least, some of his neighbors had some money. So he 
rode on. He soon found, however, that he had gleaned 
the richest places first. On his way home he applied to 
others of his patients with far different results. Not only 
was the account he received very sorrowful ; but the tale of 
poverty that several of them told was so moving that the 
Doctor, instead of receiving anything from them, distrib- 


nted amongst them what lie had already collected, saying 
they were poorer than himself. So when he reached home 
that evening he had no more than when he rode away. 

'MVell, Bess," he said, "it is the first time I ever 
dnnned a debtor, and it is the last." Mrs. Gary looked at 
him with the expression in her eyes with which a mother 
looks at a child. 

" I think it is just as well," she said, smiling. 

" You must go and see old Mrs. Bellows," he said. " She 
is in great trouble for fear they'll sell her place." 

Blair Gary, like her mother, watched with constant anx- 
iety the change in her father. His hair was becoming 
white, and his face was growing more worn. 

At length, a plan which she had been forming for some 
time took definite shape. She annonnced her intention 
of applying for one of the common schools which had been 
opened in the neighborhood. When she first proposed 
the plan, it Avas received as if she were crazy — but her 
father and mother soon found that they no longer had a 
child to deal with, but a woman of sense and force of char- 
acter. The reasons she gave were so clear and unanswer- 
able that at length she overcame all objections and obtained 
the consent of all the members of the family except Mammy 
Krenda. The only point on which her father stood out for 
was that she should not apply for one of the schools under 
the new county-managers. A compromise was effected and 
she became the teacher of the school that had been built 
by the old residents. The Mammy still stood out. The 
idea of ''her child" teaching a common school outraged 
the old woman's sense of propriety, and threw her into a 
state of violent agitation. She finally yielded, but only on 
condition that she might accompany her mistress to the 
school every day. 

This she did, and when Miss Blair secured the little 
school at the fork in the road not far from their big gate, 
the old mammy was to be seen every day, sitting in a corner 
grim and a little supercilious, knitting busily, while her 


eyes ever and anon wandered over the classes before her, 
transfixing the individual who was receiving her mistress's 
attention with so sharp a glance that the luckless wight 
was often disconcerted thereby. 

As old Mr. Haskelton had said, the old residents were 
flat on their backs. Leech was of this opinion when he 
passed his measures. But remembering Still's warning, to 
make sure, as the troops had been withdrawn from the 
county, he put through a bill to organize a State militia, 
under which large numbers of the negroes in the old 
county and throughout the State were formed in com- 

He had other plans hatching which he thought they 
would subserve. 



The old Doctor had become the general adviser of his 
neighbors. There was that in his calm face and quiet man- 
ner which somehow soothed and sent them away with a feel- 
ing of being sympathized with, even when no practical aid 
was rendered. " I believe more people consults the old 
Doctor than does Mr. Bagby and General Legaie together/' 
said Andy Stamper ; "and he don't know any more about 
the way to do business these days than my baby. To be 
sure, they all seem to be helped somehow by goin'." 

It was soon a problem whether the Doctor could keep 
his own place from falling into the hands of the Commis- 
sion. He had often wondered why it had not been listed, 
for he had not been able to keep the taxes down. Though 
he did not know, however, Hiram Still did. 

All this while Blair had some secret on her mind. She 
was always working. She would be up before sunrise, 
looking after her chickens ; and in the afternoons, when 
she came from school, and all day in the summer, she 
would be busy about the kitchen or in some shaded spot, 
back among the fruit trees, where kettles were hung over 
fires, and Mrs. Cary at times gave advice, and Mammy 
Krenda moved about with her arms full of dry wood, in 
a mist of blue smoke. Sometimes Steve Allen lounged 
in the shade, at the edge of the cloud, giving Blair what 
he termed his legal advice, and teasing Mammy Krenda 
into threats of setting him on fire "before his time." 
" Making preserves and pickles," was all the answer the 
Doctor got to his inquiries. Yet for all Miss Blair's work 



there did not seem to be any increase in tlie preserves that 
came to the table^ and wlien her father inquired once if 
all her preserves and pickles were spoilt^ though she went 
with a laugh and a blush and brought him some, he saw 
no increase in them afterward. She appeared suddenly to 
have a great many dealings with Mr. and Mrs. Stamper, 
and several times Andy Stamper's wagon came in the Doc- 
tor's absence and took away loads of jars which were 
transported to the railroad, and when the Doctor accident- 
ally met Andy and inquired of him as to his load and its 
destination, Andy gave a very shuffling and cloudy reply 
about some preserves his wife and some of her friends 
were sending to town. Indeed, when the Doctor reached 
home on that occasion, he spoke of it, declaring that Mrs. 
Stamper was a very remarkable young woman ; she act- 
ually sent olf wagon-loads of j^reserves. He asked Blair 
teasingly how it was that Mrs. Stamper could do this while 
they could hardly get enough for the table. Blair only 
lauglied and made a Avaruing sign to Mammy Krenda, 
who was sniffing ominously and had to leave the room. 

At length the secret came out. One day the Doctor 
came home worn out. The taxes were due again. Blair 
left the room, and returning, placed a roll of money in 
his hands. It was her salary Avhich she had saved, to- 
gether with the proceeds of the kettle in the orchard. 

" That will help you, papa," she said, as she threw her 
arms round his neck. " These are my preserves." 

The old gentleman was too moved to speak before she 
had run out of the room. After a little he went to find 
his -wife. That v/as the sanctuary he always sought, in joy 
and sorrow. 

"I reckon now he know de Stampers ain' de on'ies' 
ones kin meek preserves," said ilara my Krenda, with a sniff. 

That very evening old Mrs. Bellows came to see the 
Doctor. Mrs. Bellows was the aunt of Delia Dove. Her 
husband had been a blacksmith, and had died the year 
after the war. They owned a little place near the fork 


in tlie road, just on the edge of the Bird wood plantation, 
where her husband had in old times made a good living. The 
house was a little cottage set back amid apple and peach 
trees some hundreds of yards from the shop. Since her 
husband's death, Andy Stamper and Delia Dove had 
lielped her; but now, since Andy had been turned out of 
his old home and was paying for another, the times had 
grown so hard that it was not a great deal they could do. 
Andy thought they'd better let this place go and that she 
should come and live with them, but the old woman had 
I'efused, and now her -place among many others had been 
forfeited and was on the list of those advertised for sale. 
And Mrs. Bellows came to Dr. Gary. Still had his eye on 
her home, and intended to buy it for the Commission, 
Andy had heard that Nicholas Ash wanted it, and that 
Still had promised it to him — " just out of spite to Andy 
and Delia," the old woman said. She was in a great state 
of excitement. 

" I been tellin' Andy 'twant no use to be fightin' Still," 
she wailed; "he's too smart for him. If he could git 
hold o' Red Rock, Andy might V known he could beat 

Dr. Gary sat in deep reflection for a moment. He had 
a pang as he thought of the money he had made Andy 
pay. The sum saved by Blair was only a small part of the 
taxes due on Bird wood, but was enough to pay all the 
back taxes and redemption fees on Mrs. Bellows's place. 
It looked like Providence. The Doctor sent her away 
comforted. Still's plans with regard to the Bellows place 
soon became an assured fact. He boasted of what he 
Avould do. He would show Andy Stamper who he was. 
The fact that it would be Delia Dove's was enough for 
him, and it became known throughout the county that the 
Gommission would take it. When the day of sale came, 
little Andy was on hand at the county seat. Still was 
there too, and so was Nicholas Ash. Still tried to find out 
why Andy came. He knew he did not have the money to 


redeem tlie place. He thonglit it was to pick a quarrel with 
him; but Andy's face was inscrutable. 

Under the formality of the law, a party interested could 
redeem the land at any time before it was sold, paying the 
amount due to the clerk, with interest and fees. Still ex- 
amined the list just before the crying began. The Bellows 
place was still on it. So the auction began. Andy was 
closeted with old Mr. Dockett, whose duty it was, as clerk, 
to receive the redemption money ; but when the sale 
started, he came out and sauntered up into the crowd. 
Several places belonging to persons whose names began 
with A, were put up and knocked down to " Hiram Still, 
Commissioner,^' and as each one went to him there were 
groans and hoots, and counterbalancing cheers from the 
negroes. At length the Bellows place was reached. The 
amount of taxes for the' several years for which it was 
delinquent was stated, and the sheriff, a creature of Leech's, 
offered the place. There was a dead silence throughout 
the crowd, for it was known that it was between Still and 
Stamper. Still was the only bidder. The crowd looked 
at Stamper, but he never stirred. He looked the most in- 
different man on the ground. Still, on the other side of 
the crowd, whispered with Ash and made a sign to the 
sheriff, and the latter, having made his preliminary notice, 
announced : 

"And there being no other bid than that of the Com- 
missioner, I knock this place also dov>'n to " 

There was a movement, and a voice interrupted him. 

" ISTo, you don't. That place has been redeemed." Andy 
spoke quietly, but with a sudden blaze in his eyes. He 
held up the certificate of payment, gripped in his hand, 
and looked across at Hiram Still. 

There was a moment's pause, and then cheer after cheer 
broke out from the crowd of whites ; and the long, pent- 
up feeling against Still burst forth so vehemently that he 
turned and pushed deep into the middle of the throng of 
blacks about him, and soon left the ground. 


The excitement and anxiety, however, proved too much 
for old Mrs. Bellows, and she died suddenly a few nights 

" One more notch on the score against Hiram and 
Major Leech,'^ said Andy Stamper, grimly, as he turned 
the key in the door of the empty house, and, taking it out, 
put it in his pocket. 

Andy's wife, as the old Avoman's heir, was the owner of 
the place ; but a few days after Mrs. Bellows's death Andy 
rode up to Dr. Gary's door. 

Delia had sent him over, he said (he always laid the 
credit of such things on Delia, he was simply clay in the 
potter's hands). — Delia had sent him to say that the place 
belonged to Miss Blair. " She had found out where the 
money came from which bought it back, and she wan't goin' 
to take it. She couldn't take care of the place anyhow — 
'twas all she could do to keep the place they had now ; and 
she would not have this one if she was to pay taxes on it. 
All she Avanted, was to beat Hiram. So if Miss Blair 
wouldn't take it, she s'posed Nicholas Ash would git it 
next year, after all." 

Andy pulled out a deed, made in due form to Miss Blair 
Gary, and delivered it to the Doctor, meeting every objec- 
tion which the Doctor raised, with a reason so cogent that 
it really looked as if he were simply trying to shield Delia 
Dove from some overwhelming calamity. So the Doctor 
finally agreed to hold the place for his daughter, though 
only as security for the sum advanced, and Avith the stipu- 
lation that Andy should at any time have the privilege of 
redeeming it. It was Avell for Dr. Gary that he had placed 
his money as he did. 

A fcAV days after this sale at the county seat. Dr. Gary 
received a letter from Mr. Ledger, telling him that the 
condition of affairs had become so gloomy that his corre- 
spondents in the North Avere notifying him that they could 
not continue their advances to him at present, and as the 
notes given him by Dr. Gary and General Legale, which 


had already been renewed several times, were about to fall 
due again, he found himself under the disagreeable neces- 
sity of asking that they would arrange to pay them at their 
next maturity. General Legaie, who had received a simi- 
lar letter, rode up to see Dr. Gary next morning, and the 
following day they went to the city together. They rode on 
horseback, as they had no money to pay even tlie small 
sum necessary for the railway fares. 

When the Doctor and General Legale called on Mr. 
Ledger he was at the moment talking to a youngish, vigor- 
ous-looking man, whose new clothes and alert speech gave 
him almost a foreign air beside the stately manner of the 
two old gentlemen. Mr. Clough, the stranger, rose to go, 
but both Dr. Gary and General Legale begged him to re- 
main, declaring that they had " no secrets to discuss," and 
that they should themselves leave if he did so, as he had 
been there first. 

They had exhausted every resource in their power to 
raise the means to pay Mr. Ledger, they said. And now 
they had come to him with a proposition. They looked at 
each other for support. It manifestly cost an effort to 
make it. They proposed that he should take, at a proper 
valuation, so much of their lands as would meet his debt. 
A sigh followed the proposal. It was evidently a relief to 
have got it out. 

"It is good land, and not an acre has ever been sold 
from the original grant," said Dr. Gary. It manifestly 
added to the value of the terms offered. 

" My dear sirs, what would I do with your lands ?" said 
Mr, Ledger. " I already have the security of the lands in 
addition to your personal obligation. My advice to you is 
to try and sell them — or, at least, so much of them as will 
enable you to discharge your debts. There are one or two 
men up in your section who have plenty of money. — This 
man Leech — and that man Still — they are land-buyers. 
Why don't yoii sell to them ? " 

" What I " exclaimed both Dr. Gary and General Legale, 


in one breath. " Sell our old family places to that man 
Leech ? " 

" My dear sirs, it will come to this, I fear — or worse. 
My correspondents are all calling in their loans. I know 
that Mr. Still would not be averse to buying a part of your 
place or, indeed, all of it, Doctor ; and I think Leech 
would like to have yours, General." 

The two old gentlemen stiilened. 

" Why, that man Leech is a thief !" said the little Gen- 
eral, with the air of one making a revelation. ''He could 
not pay me a dollar that had not been stolen, and that fel- 
low Still, he's a harpy, sir." 

'* Yes, I know, but I tell you frankly, gentlemen, it ir, 
your only chance. They mean to tax your land until you 
will find it impossible to hold on to it." 

" In that case we should not wish to ]3ut it off even on 
those men," said the Doctor with dignity, rising. " T 
shall see if I cannot raise the money elsewhere to relieve 
you. Meantime I shall hold on to the old place as long as 
I can. I must make one more effort." And the two old 
gentlemen bowed themselves out! 

''A very striking-looking pair," said the stranger, "but 
they don't seem to have much business in them." 

'' No," said Mr, Ledger, " they haven't. They are about 
as able to cope with the present as two babies." He sat 
in deep abstraction for a minute and then broke out sud- 
denly : " But I'll tell you what : if you up yonder would 
just hold off they could clean up that pen on the hill 
in fifteen minutes. And I believe it would be the best 
ihing for you to have them do it." His eyes blazed with 
a light that gave his visitor a new idea of him. 

In consequence of this talk, Mr. Clougli, when he had 
concluded his business, went for amusement to observe the 
proceedings of the State Legislature which was in session. 
It was undoubtedly strange to see laws being enacted by a 
body composed of blacks who but a few years before had 
been slaves, and he went away with a curious sense of the 


incongimity of the thing. But it was only amusing to him. 
They apj)eared good-natured and rather like big children 
playing at something which grown people do. His only 
trouble was the two old gentlemen. 

" Of course it is all nonsense, those slaves being legisla- 
tors," he admitted to Major Welch, on his arrival at home, 
and to his father-in-iaw. Senator Eockfield. " But they 
are led by white men who know their business. The fact 
is, they appear to know it so well that I advise calling in 
all the debts at once." 

What simply amused this casual visitor, however, was a 
stab in the heart of the two old gentlemen he had met. 

Dr. Gary and General Legale returned home without be- 
ing able to raise anywhere the money that was due. 

In reply to the letter announcing this, Dr. Gary re- 
ceived a letter from Mr. Ledger, informing liira that. he had 
just had an offer from someone to take up the Doctor^s 
notes, and he had felt it his duty to notify him before he 
assigned them. The person who had made the offer had 
insisted that his name should not be known at present, 
but he had intimated that it was with friendly intentions 
toward Dr. Gary, though Mr. Ledger stated, he would not 
like the Doctor to rely too much on this intimation. He 
would much prefer that Dr. Gary should take up the notes 
himself, and he would not for a moment urge him if it 
were not that he himself was absolutely obliged to have 
the money to meet his obligations. 

To this letter the Doctor replied promptly. Mr. Ledger 
must accept the offer from his unnamed correspondent if it 
were a mere business transaction, and the Doctor only asked 
that he would do so without in any way laying him under 
any obligation to the person referred to, for a pretended 

" The old Doctor evidently knows his mau," was Mr. 
Ledger's reflection. 

The next day Hiram Still held Dr. Gary's notes se- 
cured bv deed of trust on the whole Bird wood estate. 


Still was sitting in the big hall at Red Rock on his return 
home, and he took out the notes and laid them on the 
table before his son. 

" Ah ! Dr. Wash," he said, with a gleam in his eyes ; 
" things is comin' roun'. Now you've got it all your own 
way. With them cards iu your hand if you can't win the 
game, you ain't as good a player as yer pappy. I don't 
want nothin' for myself, I just want 'em to know who I 
am — that's all. And with you over yonder at the old Doc- 
tor's, and Virgy in Congress or maybe even in the Gover- 
nor's house down yonder, I reckon they'll begin to find 
out who Hiram Still is." 

The son was evidently pleased at the prospect spread 
out before him, and his countenance relaxed. 

'"T won't do to let Leech get too far ahead — I'm always 
telling you so."* Young Still was beginning to show some 
jealousy of Leech of late. 

''Ahead? He ain't ahead. He just thinks he is." 
The speaker's voice changed. *' What's the matter with 
Virgy these days ? I've done set her up in the biggest 
house in the county, and brought the man who's goin' to 
be one of the biggest men in the State to want her to 
marry him, and she won't have nothin' to do with him. 
It clean beats my time. I don't know what's got into her. 
She ain't never been the same since I brought her here. 
Looks like these pictures round here sort o' freezes her 

As he glanced around Hiram Still looked as if he were 
freezing up a little himself. 

" She's a fool," said the brother, amiably. 

" I thought maybe she's been kind o'ailin'an' I'd git the 
old Doctor to come and see her. Say what you please, he 
have a kind o' way with him women folks seems to like. 
But she won't hear of it." 

" She's just a fool. Let her alone for awhile, an3diow." 

His father looked at him keenly. 

** Well, you go ahead — and as soon as you've got your 



fill}^ safe, we'll take up t'other horse — time enough. Thar's 
the bridle/' He touched the notes on the table and 
winked at his son. 

Dr. Still, armed with the assurance which the possession 
of Dr. Gary's notes gave, drove over to Birdwood the very 
next evening in a double buggy. He was met by Dr. Gary, 
who treated him with his usual graciousness, and who so 
promptly assumed that the visit was merely a professional 
one that the caller never found the opportunity to unde- 
ceive him. 

When Washington Still arrived at home that night his 
father was watching for him with eagerness. He met him 
as the buggy drove up into the yard ; but Wash's face was 
sphinx-like. It was not until nearly bedtime, when the 
father had reinforced his courage with several drinks of 
whiskey, that he got courage to open the subject directly. 

"Well, what news ?" he asked, witli an attempt at jo- 

'' None," said Wash, shortly. 

" How'd you come out ? " 

"Same way I went in." This was not encouraging, 
but another glass added to Mr. Still's spirit. 

" How was she lookin' ? " 

"■* Didn't see her. — Didn't see anybody but the old Doc- 
tor ; never do see anybody but him — and the old nigger that 
opens the door. He thought I'd come over to consult him 
about that sick nigger down at the mill, so I let him think 
so. I wish the d — d nigger would die ! " 

"And you didn't even ask for her ?" 

The young man shifted in his chair. 

" What's the use ! That old fool's got a way with him. 
You know how it is. If he wa'n't so d — d polite I " 

" Ah ! Washy, you're skeered," said the father, 
fondly. " You can't bridle a filly if you're afeard to go 
in, boy. If you don't git up the grit I'll go over thar 
myself, first thing you know. Why don't you write her a 



" What's the good ! I know'm. She wouldn't look at 
me. She's for Lord Jacquelin or Captain Steve Allen." 

''She wouldn't !" Still rose from his chair in the in- 
tensity of his feeling. " By she shall ! I'll make 


" Make her ! You think she's Virgy? She ain't." 

A day or two later a letter from Dr. Still was brought to 
Birdwood by a messenger. Dr. Gary received it. It was 
on tinted paper and was for Blair. That afternoon another 
messenger bore back the saue letter unopened, together 
with one from Dr. Gary, to the effect that his daughter 
was not accustomed to receive letters from young men, and 
that such a correspondence would not be agreeable to him. 

Dr. Still was waiting with impatience for a reply to 
his missive. He was not especially sanguine. Even his 
father's hope could not reassure him. When he looked 
at the letter his countenance fell. He had not expected 
this. It was a complete overthrow. It not only Avas a 
total destruction of his hopes respecting Miss Gary, but it 
appeared to exj^ose a great gulf fixed between him and all his 
social hopes. He had not known till then how much he 
had built on them. In an instant his feeling changed. 
He was enraged with Blair, enraged with Dr. Gary, enraged 
with Jacquelin Gray and Captain Allen, and enraged with 
his father who had counselled him to take the step. He 
took the letter to his father, and threw it on the table be- 
fore him. 

''Eead that." 

Hiram Still took up the letter and, putting on his glasses, 
read it laboriously. His face turned as red as his son's 
had turned white. He slammed the letter on the table 
and hammered his clenched fist down on it. 

" You ain't good enough for 'em ! Well, I'll show 'em. 
I'll turn 'em out in the road and make their place a 
nigger settlement. I'll show 'era who they're turnin' 
their noses up at. I'll show 'em Avho Hiram Still is. I'll 
make Leech Governor, and turn him loose on 'em, if it 


takes every cent l\e got in the world." He filled his 
glass. " We^ll show 'em yet who we are. When I'm settin' 
up here and you're settin' up thar they'll begin to think 
maybe after all they've made a little mistake." 

Still was as good as his word. Within a day or two, Dr. 
Gary received a letter from him asking the payment of his 
obligations which he held. He assigned the necessity he 
was under to raise a large sum of money himself. 

The Doctor wrote in reply that it was quite impossible 
for him to raise the money to pay the debts, and begged 
that Still would without delay take the necessary steps to 
close the matter up, assuring him that he should not only 
not throw any obstacle in his way, but. would further his 
object as far as lay in his power. 

Steve urged the Doctor to make a fight, declaring that 
he could defer the sale for at least two years, maybe more, 
and times might change ; but Dr. Gary declined. 

" What can I do ? I owe a debt and I cannot pay it. I 
might as well save the man the mortification of telling a 
multitude of unnecessary lies." 

So in a little while Still, through Leech, his counsel, 
had subjected the Doctor's property to his debts and was iu 
possession of Bird wood as well as Red Rock. 

Mrs, Gary and Blair left their roses and jonquils and with 
the Doctor moved to the old Bellows place, where they 
were as happy as they had ever been in the days of their 
greatest prosperity. OldTarquiu, who accompanied them, 
observed his master closely and followed his example, car- 
rying his head as high as if he still walked the big halls 
and polished floors of Birdwood. Mammy Krenda alone 
was unhappy. She could not reconcile herself to the 
change. The idea of " dat nigger-trader an' overseer 
ownin' her old marster's place, an' o' her young mistis 
havin' to live in de blacksmiif' house," was more than the 
old woman could bear. 



Major Leech was now one of tlie leading men in the 
State. No one had been so successful in his measures. 
He boasted openly that he owned his own county. Carried 
it in his breeches pocket, he said. 

Hiram Still had become the largest property-holder in 
the county. " I don't know so much about these here pa- 
per stocks," he said to his son. " But I know good land, 
and when you've got land you've got it, and everybody 
knows you've got it." 

It was understood now that Leech was courting Still's 
daughter, and it began to be rumored that reinforced by 
this alliance, after the next election he would probably be 
the leader in the State. He was spoken of as a possible 
candidate for the Governorship, the election for which was 
to come off the following year. 

The people were now as flat on their backs as even Leech 
could wish. 

Fortunately there is a law by which conditions through 
their very excess are sometimes rectified. Absolute success 
often bears in it the seeds of its own destruction. With the 
power to make such laws as they wanted, and to gild all 
their acts with the tinsel of apparent authority, Leech and 
his associates had been so successful that they had lost all 
reckoning of opposition, and in their security had begun to 
quarrel among themselves. 

The present Governor, Kraf ton, was a candidate for re- 
election, and his city organ declared that Leech was 
pledged to him. He had " made Leech," it said. '* Leech 



was bound to him by every tie of gratitude and honor." 
Leech in private sneered at the idea. " Does he think I'm 
bound to him for life ? Ain't he rich enough ? Does he 
want to keep all the pie for himself ? Why don't he pay 
that rent to the State for the railroad him and his crowd 
leased ? He talk about beatin' me ! I'll show him. You 
wait until after next session and all h — 1 can't beat me," 
he said to Iliram Still. He did not say this to the Gov- 
ernor. But perhaps even counting this Leech did not 
count all the forces against him. Emboldened by the 
quietude which had existed so long, Leech moved more 
openly. He believed he was strong enough now for any- 
thing. Success was at length turning even Still's head. 

" You got to keep yourself before the people, and do it 
all the time. If you don't they'll forgit you, and some- 
body else will reap your harvest," Still explained to his 

"Anybody as reaps for me is welcome to all he gets," 
said Leech. 

The campaign opened, and soon Leech was as prom- 
inent as he could have wished. However 2)rostrate the 
people were, they were not ready to have Leech for the 
Governor of the State, and they so declared. At a public 
meeting that was held, Steve Allen in a speech declared 
that ''Krafton is a robber ; but Leech is a thief." 

Both Leech and Still were sensible of the stir ; but they 
did not heed it. Leech was daily strengthening himself. 

When the rumor started that the whites were rousing 
up and were beginning to think of organizing in opposi- 
tion, Leech only laughed. 

"Kick, will they?" said he. "I want 'em to kick. 
I'm fixed for 'em now. I've got the power I want behind 
me now, and the more they kick the more they'll git the 
rowels. I guess you're beginning to find out I'm pretty 
well seated ? " he added triumphantly to Still. Still could 
not but admit that it was so. 

"Fact is, things're goin' almost too smooth," he said. 

230 IlED HOCK 

" You're hard to please/' growled Leech. 

''No; but you know, sometimes I'm most afeered I'll 
"wake up and find it a dream. Here I am settin' up, a gen- 
tleman here in this big house that I used to stand over 
yonder on the hill in the blazin' sun and just look at, and 
wonder if I ever would have one even as good as the one 
I was then in as my own ; and yonder are you, one of the 
big men in the State, and maybe vv^ill be Governor some 
day, who knows ? " Leech acce^Dted the compliment with 
becoming condescension. 

" That was a great stroke of yours to git the State to 
endorse the bonds and then git your man Bolter down here 
to put up that money. If this thing keeps up we soon 
won't have to ask nobody any odds," pursued Still. 

" I don't ask any of 'em any odds now. When I get my 
militia fully organized, I'm going to make a move that will 
make things crack. And old Kraf ton will come down too. 
He thinks he's driving, and he's just holding the end of 
the reins." 

" I don't count so much on your militia as I do on your 
friends. I know these people, and I tell you, you can't 
keep 'em down with niggers. If you try that you'll have a 
bust up 't will blow you — somewhere you won't want to 
be," cautioned Still. " I never was so much in favor of 
that militia business as you was. Comes to a fight, the 
whites will beat every time — and it costs too much. My 
taxes this year'll be " 

Leech frowned. 

" Your taxes ! If it hadn't been for high taxes I'd like 
to know where you'd been. Y'ou're always talkin' about 
knowin' these people. You're afraid of 'em. I'm not. I 
suppose it's natural ; we've whipped you." 

There was a sudden lower in Still's eye at the sneer. 

"You're always talkin' about havin' whipjied us. Toii 
ain't whipped us so much," he growled. "If you ain't 
afraid of 'em, whyn't you take up what Steve Allen said to 
you t'other day when lie told you he'd be Governor before 


you was, and called you — nv worse than Krafton ? He's 
given you chances enough." 

" You v\'ait, and you'll see how I'll take it up. 1 il take 
him up. I've got the government behind me, and M^hen 
I'm Governor and get a judge such as I want, you'll see 
things working even enough." 

" Well, 'twon't do for us to quarrel, Major. We're like 
two steers yoked together," Still said, conciliatorily. '" Only 
don't go too fast at first — or you may break your team down 
before you git anywhere near where you want to go." 

When Still was alone with his son after this interview 
he told him that Leech was in danger of ruining every- 

"He's gittin' sp'iled. We must keep the brakes on him 
or he'll bust the wagon all to pieces. If he gits up too fast 
he won't remember me and you," observed Mr. Still. 
" Where would I be now if I hadn't gone a little keerful.^" 

''Careful," corrected his son, superciliously. 

" Well, careful, then ; I can't keep up with your book 
learnin'. But I know a few things, and he's about to make 
a fool of himself. He wants to break with old Krafton be- 
fore it's time, and I ain't sure he's strong enough yet to do 
it. We may have to call on Krafton yet, and 'twon't do to 
let him go till we get Leech settled. He's goin' too fast 
■with his niggers. We've got to keep the brakes on 

Leech soon perfected the organization of his negroes. 
The League furnished the nucleus. He had quite an army 
enrolled. At first they drilled without arms, or with only 
the old muskets which had come down from the war ; but 
in a little time a consignment of new rifles came from 
somewhere, and at their next drill the bands appeared 
armed and equipped with new army muskets and ammu- 
nition. Nicholas Ash was captain of one company, and 
another was under command of Sherwood. Leech was 
Colonel and commanding officer in the county. Under 
the law, Krafton, as Governor, had the power to accept or 


refuse any company that organized and offered itself. The 
effect of the new organization on the negroes was immedi- 
ately felt. They became insolent and swaggering. The 
jRelds were absolutely abandoned. Should they handle hoes 
when they could carry guns ! Should they plough when 
they were the State guard ! 

AVhen Leech's new companies drilled, the roadsides were 
lined with their admirers. They filled the streets and took 
possession of the sidewalks, yelling, and hustling out of 
their way any who might be on them. Ladies walking on 
the street were met and shoved off into the mud. Li a 
little while, whenever the militia were out, the whites dis- 
appeared almost wholly from the streets. But the men 
were to be found gathered together at some central place, 
quiet, and apparently without any object, but grim and 
earnest. Steve Allen was likely to be among them. 

Steve organized a company and offered its services to the 
Governor, asking to be commissioned and armed. Only 
negro companies were being commissioned. The Governor 
referred him to Leech, who was, he said, the Commandant 
in that section. The next time Steve met Leech he said : 

*' Major Leech, your man Krafton says if you'll recom- 
mend it he'll commission a company I have." Leech 
hemmed and stammered a little. 

" No need to be in a hurry about it, Major," said Steve, 
enjoying his embarrassment. " When you want 'em let me 
know. I'll have 'em ready," and he jaassed on with cheery 
insolence, leaving the carpet-bagger with an ugly look in 
his pale blue eyes. 

Leech conferred with Still, Avho counselled that they 
should move with deliberation. Leech had grown impa- 
tient. He thought himself strong enough now to overawe 
the whites. Night meetings were being held everywhere, 
at wliich Leech addressed his followers. Their response 
was almost an outbreak. 

A number of acts were committed that incensed the peo- 
ple greatly. Andy Stamper, with his wagon full of chickens 


and eggs, was coming along the road when he met one of 
the companies, followed by the crowd of negroes that usu- 
ally attended the drills. In a few minutes the wagon was 
thrown down a bank and upset, the eggs were all smashed, 
and little Andy, fighting desperately with his whip, was 
knocked senseless and left on the roadside, unconscious. 
He said afterward it served him right for being such a fool 
as to go without his pistol, and that if he had had it he 
would have whipped the whole company. Mrs. Gary and 
Blair and Miss Thomasia came near having a similar experi- 
ence. They were stopped on the road in their old carriage, 
and nothing but Mrs. Gary's spirit and old Gideon's pres- 
ence of mind saved them perhaps from worse usage. Mrs. 
Gary, however, stepped out and stood beside her horses 
commanding that they should not be touched, while the 
old driver, standing up in the boot of the carriage, talked 
so defiantly and looked so belligerent that he preserved his 
mistresses from anything Avorse than being turned out 
rudely into the woods and very much frightened. 

These things caused much excitement. 

The first movement in the campaign was a great meet- 
ing that was held at the county seat. The negroes were 
summoned from several counties round, and there was to 
be a great muster of Leech's ''new militia." It was a 
grave time in the county. All such assemblages were seri- 
ous now, more for what might happen than for anything 
that had ever happened yet. But this one was especially 
serious. It was rumored that Leech would launch himself 
as a candidate for Governor, and would outline his jjolicy. 
The presence of his militia was held to be a part of his 
plan to overawe any opposition that might arise. So 
strong was the tension that many of the women and chil- 
dren were sent out of the village, and those that remained 
kept their houses. 

When the day for the meeting at the county seat came, 
nearly the entire male population of the county, white and 
colored, were present, and the negro companies were out in 


force, marching and parading up and down in the same 
field in which the white troops liad paraded just be- 
fore going off to the war. j\Iany remarked on it that day. 
It served to emphasize the change that a few years had 
brought. When the parade was over, the companies took 
possession of the court green, and were allowed to break 
ranks preparatory to being called under arms again, when 
they were to be addressed on the issues of the campaign. 
The negroes, with a few white men among them — so few 
as not to make the slightest impression in the great dusky 
throng — were assembled on the court green. The whites 
were outside. 

There was gravity, but good-humor. 

Steve Allen, particularly, appeared to be in high spirits. 
To see the way the crowd was divided it might have looked 
as if they were hostile troops. Only, the whites apparently 
had no arms. But they had almost the formation of sol- 
diery waiting at rest.- Steve sauntered up into the crowd 
of negroes and made his way to where Leech stood well sur- 
rounded, talking to some of the leaders. 

" AV ell. Colonel, how goes it ? You seem to have a 
good many troops to-day. We lieard you were going to 
have a muster, and we came dov/n- to see the drill." 

The speech was received good-temperedly by the ne- 
groes, many of whom Stove spoke to by name good-hu- 

Leech did not aj^preciate the jest, and moved off with a 
scowl. The young man, however, was not to be shaken off 
so. lie followed the other to the edge of the crowd, and 
there his manner changed. 

" Mr. Leech," he said, slowly, with sudden seriousness 
and with that deep intonation which always called up to 
Leech that night in the woods when he had been waylaid 
and kidnapjied. "Mr. Leech, you are on trial to-day. 
Don't make a false step. You are the controlling sj)irit of 
these negroes. They await but your word. So do we. If 
a hand is lifted vou will never be Governor.* We have stood 


all we propose to stand. Yon are standing on a powder 
magazine. I give you warning." 

He turned off and walked, back to his own crowd. 

It was the boldest s^Deech that had been made to Leech 
in a long time. His whole battalion of guards were on the 
grounds, and a sign from him would have lodged Steve in 
the jail, which frowned behind the old brick clerk's office. 
He had a mind to order his arrest ; but as he glanced at 
him there was a gleam in Steve's gray eyes which restrained 
him. They were fixed on him steadily, and the men be- 
hind him suddenly seemed to have taken on something like 
order. Until that moment Leech had no idea what a force 
it was. There were men of all classes in the ranks. He 
seemed suddenly the focus of all eyes. They were fastened 
on him with a cold hostility that made him shiver. He 
had a sudden catching at the heart. He sent for Still and 
had a conference with him. Still advised a pacific course, 
'•' Too many of 'em," he said. " And they are ready for 

Leech adopted Still's advice. In the face of Steve's 
menace and that crowd of grim-looking men he quailed. 
His name was put forward, and many promises were made 
for him, revolutionary enough, but it was not by himself. 
Nicholas Ash, after a long conference with Leech and Still, 
was the chief speaker of the occasion, and Leech kept him- 
self in the background all day. 

The policy laid down by JSTicholas Ash, even after his 
caution from Leech and Still, was bad enough. " They 
say the taxes are too high," declared the negro statesman. 
*' I tell you, and Colonel Leech tells you, they ain't high 
enough, and when he's Governor they'll be higher yet. We 
are goin' to raise 'em — yes, Ave are goin' to raise 'em till Ave 
bankrupt 'em every one, and then the land will go to the 
ones as ought to have it, and if anybody interferes Avith 
you, you've got guns and you knoAV hoAv to use 'em." 
Tumultuous applause greeted this exposition of Leech's 
principles. Only the earnest counsel of Dr. Gary and some 


of the older and cooler heads kept the yoanger men quiet. 
But the day jjassed off quietly. The only exception was 
an altercation between Captain McRaffle and a negro. 
Leech's name had been suggested for the Governorship, 
and had taken well. So he was satisfied. That night the 
negroes paraded in companies through the village, keeping 
step to a sort of chant about raising taxes and getting the 
lands and driving out the whites. 

As Dr. Gary rode home that evening on his old horse. 
Still and Leech passed him in a new buggy drawn by a 
pair of fine horses which young Dr. Still had just got. 
Both men spoke to Dr. Gary, but the Doctor had turned his 
head away so as not to see them. It was the nearest his 
heart would let him come to cutting a man direct. 

Next night after dark there was a meeting, at which were 
present nearly all the men whose names have appeared in 
this chronicle, except Dr. Gary and one or two of the older 
gentlemen, and a number more besides. 

The place selected for the meeting was the old hospital, 
a rambling, stone house with wings, and extensive cellars 
under it. It was in a cleft between two hills, surrounded 
by a dense grove, which made it at all times somewhat 
gloomy. It had been used as a field-hospital in a battle 
fought near by, and on this account had always borne 
a bad name among the negroes, who told grewsome tales of 
tlie legs and arms hacked off there and flung out of the 
windows, and of the ghostly scenes enacted there now after 
nightfall, and gave it a wide berth. 

After the war, a cyclone had blown down or twisted off 
many of the trees around the mansion, and had taken the 
roof off a part of the building and blown in one of the 
Avings, killing several of the persons who then occupied it, 
which casualty the superstition of the negroes readily set 
down to avenging wrath. The rest of the house had stood 
the storm ; but since that time the building had never been 
repaired and had sunk into a state of mournful dilapida- 
tion, and few negroes in the county could have been in- 


duced to go there even in daylight. The fields had sprung 
np in dense pines, and the roads leading out to the high- 
ways had grown up and were now hardly distinguishable. 
It had escaped even the rapacious clutch of Land Commis- 
sioner Still. 

The night after the speaking at the court-house there 
was a meeting of ghostly riders at this old place, which had 
any of the negroes around seen, they would have had some 
grounds for thinking the tales told of the dead coming 
back from their graves true. 

Pickets, with men and horses heavily shrouded, were 
posted at every outlet from the plantation, and the riders 
rode for some distance in the beds of streams, so that when 
the hoof-tracks reached certain points, they seemed sud- 
denly to disappear from the earth. 

Rumors had already come from other sections of a new 
force that had arisen, a force composed of ghostly night- 
riders. It was known as the " Invisible Empire," and the 
negroes had already been in a tremor of subdued excitement ; 
but up to this time this county had been so quiet, and 
Leech had been so supreme, that they had not taken in 
that the Ku Klux might reach there. 

After the muster of Leech's militia at the county seat the 
companies had been dismissed and the members had strag- 
gled to their homes, taking with them their arms and ac- 
coutrements, with all the pride and pomp of newly decor- 
ated children. But their triumph was short-lived. 

In the dead of night, when the cabins and settlements 
were wrapped in slumber, came a visitation, passing 
through the county from settlement to settlement and 
from cabin to cabin, in silence, but with a thoroughness that 
showed the most perfect organization. When morning 
dawned every gun and every round of ammunition which 
had been issued throughout the county, except those at the 
county seat, and some few score that had been conveyed to 
other places than the homes of the men who had them, 
had been taken away. 


In most cases the seizure was accomplished quietly, the 
surprise being so complete as to prevent wholly any resist- 
ance. All that the dejected wsirriors could tell next day 
was that there had been a noise outside, the door had 
been opened ; the yard had been found full of awful forms 
wrapped like ghosts in winding-sheets, some of whom had 
entered the houses, picked up the guns and ammunition, 
and without a word walked out and disappeared. 

In other instances, the seizure had not been so easily ef- 
fected, and in some few places there had been force exerted 
and violence used. But in every case the guns had been 
taken either peaceably or by force, and the man who had 
resisted had only called down on his head severity. One 
man only had been seriously hurt. It was the man with 
whom McRaffle had had the difficulty. 

The whites had not been wholly exempt. 

Leech had spent the night at Hiram Still's, They had 
talked over the events of the meeting and the Avhole situa- 
tion. Ash's speech proposing Leech for Governor had 
taken well with the negroes, and for the whites they did not 
care. The whites had evidently been overawed. This was 
Leech's interpretation of their quietude. Leech was tri- 
umphant. It was the justification of his plan in arming 
his followers. He laid off his future plans when he should 
have fuller powers. His only regret was that he had not 
had Steve Alien arrested for threatening him. But that 
would come before long. 

" D — n him ! I wish he was dead," he growled. 

" Go slow. Colonel ; if wishes could kill, he'd 'a' been 
dead long ago — and maybe so would you," laughed Still. 

"What a unpleasant laugh you have," frowned 

Leech. He did not often allow himself the luxury of a 
frown ; but he found it effective with Still. 

Next morning Leech was aroused by his host calling to 
him hastily to get up. Still was as white as death. 

""What is it ?" demanded Leech. 

"Get up and come out quick. Hell's broke loose.'* 



When Leech came out. Still pointed him to a picture 
drawn with red chalk on the floor of the portico, a fairly 
good representation of the "Indian-killer." There were 
also three crosses cut in the bark of one of the trees in 
front of the door. 

" What does that mean ? " 

" Means some rascals are trying to scare you : we^l scare 

But Still was not reassured. Anything relating to the 
"Indian-killer" always discomposed him. He had to take 
several drinks to bring back his courage- — and when about 
breakfast-time the news began to come to them of the vis- 
itation that had been made through the county during the 
night, Leech, too, began to look pale. 

By mid-day they knew the full extent and completeness 
of the stroke. A new and unknown force had suddenly 
arisen. The negroes were paralyzed with terror. Many 
of them believed that the riders were really supernatural, 
and they told, with ashy faces, of the marvellous things 
they had done. Some of them had said that they had just 
come from hell to warn them, and they had drunk bucket- 
fuls of water, which the negroes could hear "sizzling " as 
it ran down their throats. 

By dusk both Leech and Still had disappeared. They 
saw that the organization of the negroes was wholly de- 
stroyed, and unless something were done, and done imme- 
diately, they would be stampeded beyond hope. They 
hurried off to the city to lay their grievances before the 
Governor, and claim the aid of the full power of the 

They found the Governor much exercised, indeed, about 
the attack on his militia ; but to their consternation he 
was even more enraged against themselves by the announce- 
ment of Leech's prospective candidacy in opposition to 
him. He declared that he had aided Leech in all his 
schemes, with the express understanding that the latter 
sliould give him his unqualified su^^port for re-election, and 

240 11 ED llOCK 

he flatly charged him with treachery in announcing himself 
a candidate in opposition to him, and declined to interfere 
unless Leech at once retired. 

In this dilemma Leech promptly denied that he had ever 
announced himself as a candidate. 

Well, he allowed Nicholas Ash to do it, which amounted 
to the same thing, the Governor asserted. 

Leech repudiated any responsibility for Ash's action, and 
denied absolutely that he had any idea whatever of running 
against the Governor, for whom he asseverated the greatest 

Thus the matter was ostensibly patched up, and Leech 
and Still received some assurance that action would be 
taken. When, however, they left the presence of the Gov- 
ernor, it was to take a room and hold a private conference 
at which it was decided that their only hope lay in secur- 
ing immediately the backing of those powers on whose 
support the Governor himself relied to be sustained. 

" I know him," whispered Still. " You didn't fool him. 
He ain't never goin' to help you. May look like he's 
standin' by you ; but he ain't. We've got to go up yonder. 
Bolter's obliged to stand by us. He's too deep in„" He 
chucked his thumb over his shoulder in the direction in 
which his noon-shadow was pointing. Leech agreed with 
him, and instead of returning home, the two paid a some- 
Avhat extended visit to the seat of government, where they 
posed as patriots and advocates of law and ordej, and were 
admitted to conferences with the most potent men in the 
councils of the nation, before whom they laid their case. 



The Ku Klux raid, as it was called, created a great 
commotion, not only in our county but in other quarters 
as well. There had been in other sections growlings and 
threatenings, altercations, collisions, and outbreaks of more 
or less magnitude, but no outbreak so systematic, so ex- 
tensive, and so threatening as this had hitherto occurred, 
and it caused a sensation. It was talked about as " a new 
rebellion," calling for the suspension of the writs of privi- 
lege and the exercise of the strongest powers of the Govern- 

When therefore Leech and Still appeared at the nation- 
al capital, as suitors appealing for aid to maintain the laws 
and even to secure their lives, they found open ears and 
ready sympathizers. They were met by Mr. Bolter, who 
mainly had taken the bonds of their new railway, which 
was not yet built, and who was known as a wealthy capi- 
talist. Thus they appeared as men of substance and stand- 
ing, well introduced, and as they spoke with doubtful 
endorsement of the Governor they were even regarded as 
more than commonly conservative, and their tale was given 
unbounded credit. 

When they returned home it was Arith the conviction 
that their mission had been completely successful ; they 
had not only secured the immediate object of their visit, 
and obtained the promise of the strongest backing that 
could be given against their enemies, but they had gained 
even a more important victory. They had instilled doubts 
16 241 


as to both the sincerity and the wisdom of the Governor ; 
had, as Still said, " loosed a lynch-pin for him," and had 
established themselves as the true and proper persons to be 
consulted and supported. Thus they had secured, as they 
hoped, the future control of the State. They were in an 
ecstasy, and when a little later the new Judge was appointed, 
and proved to be liurlbut Bail, the man Bolter had rec- 
ommended against one the Governor had backed, they 
felt themselves to be masters of the situation. 

When the mission of Leech and Still became known in 
the old county it created grave concern. A meeting was 
held and Dr. Gary and General Legale, with one or two 
others of the highest standing, were aj)pointed a committee 
to go on and lay their side of the case before the author- 
ities and see what they could do to counteract the eifect of 
the work of Leech and his associates. 

It was the first time Dr. Gary and General Legale had 
been to the national capital or, indeed, out of the State, 
since the war, and tliey were astonished to see what prog- 
ress had been made in that brief period. 

They found themselves, on merely crossing a river, sud- 
denly landed in a city as wholly different from anything 
they had seen since the war as if it had been a foreign 
capital. The handsome streets and busy thoroughfares 
filled with well-dressed throngs ; gay with flashing equi- 
pages, and all the insignia of wealth, aj^peared all the 
more brilliant from the sudden contrast. As the party 
walked through the city they appeared to themselves to be 
almost the poorest persons they saw, at least among the 
whites. The city was full of negroes at this time. These 
seemed to represent mainly the two extremes of prosperity 
and poverty. The gentlemen could not walk on the street 
without being applied to by some old man or woman who 
Avas in want, and who, as long as the visitors had anything 
to give, needed only to ask to be assisted. 

'^We are like lost souls on the banks of the Styx," 
said Dr. Gary. " I feel as much a stranger as if I were on 


another planet. And to think that our grandfathers helped 
to make this nation ! " 

" To think that we ever surrendered ! " exclaimed Gen- 
eral Legaie, with a flash in his eye. 

They took lodgings at a little boarding-house, and called 
next day in a body on the Head of the Nation, but were 
unable to see him ; blien they waited on one after another 
of several high officers of the Government whom they 
believed to be dominant in the national councils. Some 
they failed to get access to; others heard them civilly, but 
with undisguised coldness. At one place they were treated 
rudely by a negro door-keeper, whose manner was so in- 
solent that the General turned on him sharply with a word 
and a gesture that sent him bouncing inside the door. 
After this interview, as Dr. Gary was making his way back 
to his boarding-house, he met one of his old servants. The 
negro was undisguisedly glad to see him. He wrung his 
hand again and again. 

"You's de fust frien', master, I's seen since I been 
heah ! " he said. 

" You are the first friend, John, I have seen," said the 
Doctor, smiling. He put his hand in his pocket and gave 
the old man a bank-note. 

As the Doctor was engaged in this colloquy he was 
observed with kindly interest or amusement by many 
passers-by — among them, by an elderly and handsomely 
dressed couple, accompanied by a very pretty girl, who 
were strolling along, and loitered for a moment within 
earshot to observe the two strangers. 

''What a picturesque figure \" said the lady as they 
passed on. 

''Which one?" 

"Well, both. I almost thought of them as one. I 
wish, Alice, you could have got a sketch of them as they 

" He is a Southerner — from his voice," said her husband, 
who was Judge Rockfield, one of the ablest and most noted 


men at that time in public life ; one of the wisest in coun- 
cil, and who, though his conservatism in that period of 
fierce passion ke^Dt him from being as prominent as some 
who were more violent and more radical, yet was esteemed 
one of the ablest and soundest men in the country. 
He was a Senator from his State, and the owner of one of 
the leading and most powerful journals in the country. 

Dr. Gary, having given the old negro his address,, took a 
street-car to try to overhaul his friends. It was quite full, 
and the Doctor secured the last vacant seat. A few blocks 
farther on, several persons boarded the car, among them 
the elderly gentleman and his wife and daughter, already 
mentioned, and another lady. The Doctor rose instantly. 

" Will you take my seat, madam ? " he said to the near- 
est lady, with a bow. The other ladies were still left 
standing, though there were many men seated ; but the 
next second a young fellow farther down the car rose, and 
gave up his seat. As he took his stand the Doctor caught 
his eye. 

" ' The Athenians praise hospitality, the Lacedemonians 
practise it,' " he said in a distinct voice that went through 
the car, and with a bow to the young fellow which 
brought a blush of pride to his pleasant face. 

The next moment the gentleman who had entered with 
his wife touched the Doctor on his arm. 

" I beg your pardon: is your name Gary ? " 

*' Yes, sir.'' 

** Can this be John Gary of Bird wood ? '* 

'' Yes, sir." 

" Don't you remember Anson Kockfield ? " 

" Why, Rockfield, my old college-mate ! " exclaimed the 
Doctor. The two men grasped each other's hands with a 
warmth which drew to them the attention and interest of 
the whole car. " Rockfield, you see I am still quoting 
Plutarch," said the Doctor. 

" And still practising his principles," said the Senator, 
smiling, as he presented him to his wife. 


" My clear, this is the man to whom yon are indebted 
for whatever is good in me. But for him I should have 
gone to the d — 1 years before you knew me." 

" He gives me far too much credit, madam, and himself 
far too little," said the Doctor. '•' I am sure that ever to 
have been able to win the prizes he has won he must have 
been always worthy, as worthy as a man can be of a 
woman/' He bowed low to Mrs. Eockfield. 

Senator Eockfield urged the Doctor to come at once to 
his house and be his guest while in tlie city, an invitation 
which his wife j^romjitly seconded with much graciousness. 

" Let us show you that some of the Athenians practise 
as well as praise hospitality,'^ she said, smiling. 

Thanking them, the Doctor excused himself from accept- 
ing the invitation, but said that with Mrs. Kockfield's per- 
mission he would call and j)ay his respects, and he did so 
that evening. 

As a result of this meeting an audience was arranged for 
him and his friends next day with the President, who 
heard them with great civility, though he gave them no 
assurance that he would accept their views, and furnished 
no clew to lead them to think they had made any impres- 
sion at all. They came away, therefore, somewhat down- 

Before the Southerners left for home. Senator Eockfield 
called on Dr. Gary and, taking him aside, had a long talk 
with him, explaining somewhat the situation and the part 
he had felt himself compelled to take. He wound up, 
however, with an appeal that Dr. Gary would not permit 
political differences to divide them and would allow him 
to render him personally any assistance that his situation 
might call for. 

"1 am rich now, Gary," he said ; " while you have suf- 
fered reverses and may have found your means impaired 
and yourself at times even cramped. (The Doctor thought 
how little he knew of the real facts.) " It is the fortune 
of war, and I want you to allow me to help you. I sup- 


pose you must have lost a good deal ? " he said, interroga- 

A change passed over the old Doctor's face. Reminis- 
cence, pain, resolution were all at work, and the pleasant 
light which had been there did not return, but in its place 
was rather the shade of deepened fortitude. 

" No," he said, quietly. " ' War cannot plunder Virtue.' 
I have learned that a quiet mind is richer than a crown." 

" Still, I know that the war must have injured you 
some," urged the Senator. " We were chums in old times 
and I want it to be so now. I have never forgotten what 
you were to me, and what I told my wife of your influence 
on me was less than the fact. Why, Cary, I even learnt 
my politics from you," he said, with a twinkle in liis eye. 

Dr. Cary thanked him, but was firm. He could think 
of nothing he could do for him. 

" Except this : think of us as men. Come down and 
see for yourself." 

" Still practising Plutarch," said the Senator. " Well, 
the time may come, even if it has not come yet, and I 
want you to promise me that when it does, you will call 
on me — either for yourself or any friend of yours. It will 
be a favor to me, Cary," he added, with a new tone in his 
voice, seeing the look on the Doctor's face. " Somehow, 
you have turned back the dial, and taken me back to the 
time when we were young and fresh, and full of high 
hopes and — yes — aspirations, and I had not found out how 
d — d mean and sordid the world is. It will be a favor to 

**A11 right, I will," said the Doctor, "if my friends 
need it." And the two friends shook hands. 

So the Commission from the old county returned home. 

Captain Allen of late spent more and more of his time at 
Dr. Gary's. His attitude toward Blair was one of gallantry 
mingled with protection and homage ; but that was his 
attitude toward every girl ; so Blair was under no delusion 
about it, and between them was always waged a warfare that 


was half pleasantry. To Mammy Krencla, however, tlie 
young man's relation to her mistress meant much more. 
No one ever looked at Blair that the old mammy did not 
instantly interpret it as a confession and a declaration, 
and having done this she instantly formed her judgment, 
and took her stand. She had divined the ambition of Dr. 
Still long before that aspiring young man dispatched to 
Miss Blair that tinted note which was the real if not tlie 
immediate cause of the Carys' removal from Birdwood to 
the Bellows cottage. And during those preliminary visits 
which the young physician had made to the old one, the 
old woman had with her sharp eyes penetrated his assumed 
disguise and made him shiver. Dr. Still knew tliat 
though Dr. Gary was taking him at his word and believed 
he really came so often to talk of medicine and seek ad- 
vice, yet the old mammy discerned his real object, and de- 
spised him. 

In Captain Allen's case it was different. Though the 
old woman and he were ostensibly always at war and never 
were together without his teasing her and her firing a shot 
in return at him, yet, at heart, she adored him. His dis- 
tinguished appearance and his leading position, taken with 
his cordial and real friendliness toward herself, made him 
a favorite with her — and the speech he had made to Mid- 
dleton on her account and his hostility to Leech made her 
his slave. 

Her manner to him was always capricious and fault-find- 
ing, as became the jealous guardian of Miss Blair ; but 
" old Argos," as Captain Allen called her, was his warm 
ally and he knew it. She took too many occasions to 
promote his and Blair's wishes, as she understood them, 
for him to doubt it, and, possibly, it was as much due to 
her misapprehension as to anything else, that Steve was 
drawn on to do what, but for Blair's good sense, might 
have imperilled both his happiness and hers. 

Since the stir created by the Ku Klux raid, Captain 
Allen had exercised more precaution than he was accus- 


tomed to do. All sorts of rumors were afloat as to 
what the Government had promised on the instigation of 
Leech and Still. Captain Allen's name was mentioned in 
all of them. Steve, in consequence, had of late been at 
the court-house less continuously than usual. And from 
equally natural causes, he had been much more at Dr. 
Gary's. To Mammy Krenda's innuendoes, he laughingly 
replied that it was healthier near the mountains — to which 
the old woman retorted that she knew what mountains he 
was trying to climb. 

One afternoon he rode up to Dr. Gary's a little earlier 
than usual, and, finding the family absent, turned his 
horse out in the yard and lounged on the porch, awaiting 
their arrival. He had not been there long when Mammy 
Krenda appeared. Steve watched her for a moment with 
amusement. He knew she had come out to talk to him. 

"What are you jDrowling about here for, you old Ku 
Klux witch, you ?" he asked, with a twinkle in his eye. 

Mammy Krenda gave a sniff. 

" Ku Klux ! Ku Klux ! ! If prowlin' mecks Ku Klux, 
I wonder what you wuz doin' last night ? An' what you 
doin' now ? " 

" Jerry's been around, the drunken rascal ! " thought 
Steve to himself. He knew Jerry was courting a grand- 
daughter of old Krenda's. 

" How's Jerry coming on with his courting ?" he asked, 

'' N'em mind about Jerry," said the old mammy. 
'' Jerry know mo' 'bout co'tin' than some other folks." 

This was interesting, and Steve, seeing that she had 
something on her mind, gave her a lead. He learned that 
the old woman thought her " chile" was not well — that she 
was " pesterin' herself mightily" about something, and, 
what was more astonishing, that Mammy Krenda held that 
he himself was in a measure responsible for it. 

A little deft haiuUing and a delicate cross-examination 
soon satisfied Steve that Jacquelin stood no chance. He 


hinted as to Micldleton. Mammy Krenda threw up her 
head. " She ain' gwine marry no Yankee come pokin^ in 
folks' kitchen." 

That disposed of it so far as Middleton was concerned. 

" How about McRaffle ? He's always hanging around ? '* 
laughed Steve. 

Krenda gave a sniff and started on. 

" Dat man what been in a coffin ! Jes' soon marry a 
lizard ! You know she ain' go' marry dat man ! She 
wouldn' look at him ! " 

" Well, who is it ? " demanded Steve. 

The old woman turned and faced him ; gave him a 
penetrating glance, and, with a toss of her turbaned-head, 
walked into the house. 

Steve sat on the porch for some time in deep reflection, 
and then rising, walked across the grass, saddled his horse 
and rode quietly away. All the past came before him and 
all the present too. Could it be possible that he had been 
the cause of Middleton's repulse and of Jacquelin's fail- 
ure ? It had never occurred to him. Yet, this was un- 
doubtedly the old mammy's theory. She had as good as 
told him that he was the cause of Blair's disquietude, and 
in the light of her revelation it all seemed reasonable 
enough. This was the secret of her attitude toward 
Jacquelin. If she cared for him, it was his duty to marry 
her. And where could he ever find her superior ? Who 
was so good and fine ? Such were his reflections. 

So one evening when he was with Blair, he suddenly 
began to speak to her as he had never done before. Blair 
was not looking at him, and she answered lightly. But 
Steve did not respond so. He had grown serious. Blair 
looked at him quickly ; her smile died out, and the color 
flushed her face. Could Steve be in earnest ? She gazed 
at him curiously ; but unhesitatingly ; only a look almost 
of sorrow came into her eyes. Steve went on and said 
all he had planned. When he had finished, Blair sud- 
denly sat down by him and put her hand over his. She 


was perfectly composed and her eyes looked frankly into 

" No, Steve — yon are mistaken," she said, quietly. 
"You have misunderstood your feelings. You do not 
love me — at least, you are not in love with me. You love 
me I believe, devotedly, and I thank God for it every day 
of my life ; as I love you as a sister — but you are not in 
love with me. You Avould helj) me, relieve me, spare me 
trouble and anxiety, save me from Captain — M — Middle- 
ton — and you see no reason why we should not marry. 
But there is one reason. You are not in love with me 
and I am not in love with you." She was speaking so 
gravely and her eyes were looking into his so frankly and 
with such true friendliness that Steve, though feeling some- 
what flat at his repulse, could not deny what she said. 

"1 know the difference," she went on, quietly. She 
paused and reflected and, to Steve's surprise, suddenly 
changed and choked up. " I have had men in love with 
me — and — " Her voice faltered. She looked down, put 
her hand to her eyes and with a cry of, " Oh ! Steve ! " 
buried her face against his shoulder: "I seem to curse 
everyone that loves me." 

In an instant Steve's strong arm was around her and he 
was comforting her like an older brother. His sympathy 
opened the girl's heart, and drew out the secret of her un- 
happiness as nothing else could have done. Blair had re- 
vealed her feelings to him as she had hardly before revealed 
them even to herself. It was the old story of misunder- 
standing, and high spirit ; stung pride, hot words, and vain 
regret — regret not for herself ; but only for others. Her 
unhappiness was that she had brought sorrow to others. It 
was because of her that Jacquelin had left home, and that 
his mother was dying of a broken heart. Steve tried to 
comfort her. She was all wrong, he assured her — she took 
a wholly erroneous view of the matter. But it was not a 
success. Jacquelin, she knew, had incurred Leech's per- 
sonal hatred on her account, and that was the primary 


cause of his exile. All the other trouble had flowed from 
it ; his mother's decline was owing to her reijining for 
Jacquelin and her anxiety about Eupert, who, cut off from 
his mother's care and influence, was beginning to show 
symptoms of wildness. All these Blair traced back to 
her folly. 

Steve, having failed in his effort to comfort her by ar- 
gument, took another method and boldly assailed her 
whole idea as unreasonable and morbid. He threatened 
to write to Jacquelin and fetch him home, and he would 
have Eupert back at once, and keep him straight too, and 
if Leech molested him, he would have him to settle with. 

The effect of this was just what Steve had anticii^ated. 
Blair suddenly took the opposite tack ; but in the battle 
that ensued she showed that she had recovered at least a 
part of her spirit. 

Steve that evening sent Jacquelin a letter intended to 
meet him on the arrival of his vessel, telling him of his 
mother's declining health and urging him to hasten home. 
He also wrote to the head of the school where Eupert was. 



When Jacqn lin Gray returned home, his arrival was 
wholly nnexpected. His ship had reached port only a 
few days before and he had planned to take his friends by 
eurprise, and, without giving any notice, had at once started 
for home. He would hardly have been known for the 
same man : in place of the pallid and almost bed-ridden 
invalid who had been borne away on a stretcher a year 
or two back, appeared a vigorous, weather-browned man, 
almost as stalwart as Steve himself. The first to recognize 
him was Waverley, who had been sent to the railroad by 
Mrs. Gray to try and get news of him. 

''Well b'fo' de Lord !" exclaimed the old man, "ef dat 
ain't I — " He paused and took another scrutinizing look, 
and, with a bound forward, broke out again. " Marse 
Jack, you done riz f'um de dead. Ef I didn' think 'twas 
my ole marster — er de Injun-Killer. Bless de Lord ! — 
you's jest in time. My mistis sen' me down fur a letter — 
she say she 'bleeged to have a letter to-day. But dis de 
bes' letter could 'a' come in dis wull fur her. Yas, suli, 
she'll git well now." He took in the whole crowd confi- 
dentially. He was wringing Jacquelin's hand in an ecstasy 
of joy, and the welcome of the others was not less warm, if 
less voluble. Under it all, however, was something that 
struck Jacquelin and went to his heart — something plain- 
tive — different from what he had expected. The negroes 
too had changed. The hearty laughter had given place to 
something that had the sound of bravado in it. The shin- 



ing teeth were not seen as of old. Old Waverley's words 
sent a chill through him. What could they mean ? 

How was his mother ? And aunt — and all the others ? 
— at Birdwood and everywhere ? he asked. 

His mistress had been " mighty po'ly, mighty po'ly in- 
deed/' the old servant said. "Been jes' pinin' fur you to 
git back. What meek you stay so long, Marse Jack ? Hit 
must be a long ways 'roun de wull ? But she'll be all 
right now. De Doctor say you de bes' i:)hysic she could 
git. All de others is well." 

"And all at Birdwood ? " asked Jacquelin. 

" 'Tain't Budwood you's axin' 'bout. Washy Still, he's 
at Budwood. Dem you want know 'bout is at Mis' Bel- 
lers ! Washy Still thought he wuz gwine git one o' dem 
whar wuz at Budwood ; but he ain't do it. Kicli or no 
rich, dee tun up dey nose at him — and all he git wuz de 
nest arter de bud done fly. Dee look higher'n him I 
knows. But I mighty glad you come. Marse Steve, he's 
dyah. He's a big man now. You's done stay away too 
long. He's one o' de leaders." 

What could this meaji ? 

As Jacquelin drove homeward with the old man he dis- 
covered what it meant ; for Waverley was not one to take 
the edge from a blow. He had a sympathetic heart and 
he made the most of it. 

" Marse Jack, de debble is done broke loose, sho ! " he 
wound up. "De overseer is in de gret house, and de 
gent'man's in de blacksmiff shop. I wonders sometimes 
dat old Injun-Killer don' come down out de picture sho 
'nough — like so many o' dem dead folks what comin' out 
dey graves." 

" What's that ? " asked Jacquelin. 

" Dat's Avhat dee tells me," protested Waverley. " De 
woods and roads is full on 'em at night. An' you can't git 
a nigger to stir out by hisself arter dark. I b'lieves it, 
and so does plenty o' urrs." He gave a little nervous 


*' What nonsense is tliis ? " demanded Jacqnelin. 

'' 'Tain' no nonsense, Marse Jack. 'Tis de fatal truf — ■ 
Since sicli doin's been goin' on, de graves won' hole 'em. 
De's some knows 'tain' no nonsense Dee done been to de 
house o' several o' dese sarsy niggers whar done got dee 
heads turned and gin 'em warnin' an' a leetle tetch o' 
what's comin' to 'em. Dee went to Moses' house turr 
night an' gin him warnin'. Moses wa'nt dyah ; but dee 
done lef him de wud — cut three cross marks in de tree 
right side he do ' ; an' he wife say dee leetle mo' drink de 
well dry. One on 'em say he shot in de battle nigh heah 
and was cut up in de ole horspittle, and dat he jes come 
from torment to gi' Moses an' Sherrod an' Nicholas Ash 
warnin'. Dee say he drink six water-bucketfuls and hit 
run down he guzzle sizzlin' jes like po'in' 't on hot stove. 
Moses say he don' mine 'em ; but I tell you he better ! " 
A sudden gleam of shrewdness crossed the old fellow's face. 

" Things had done got pretty bad, Marse Jack," the old 
man went on, confidentially. " Hiram Still and Cun'l 
Leech, dee owned ev'y thing, and ef you didn't do what dee 
say you couldn' turn roun'. Hiram, he turn' me out my 
shop jes soon as he got our place ; an' soon as he fine he 
couldn't git my young mistis, he turn' de Doctor out. 
Look like he and dat urr man, Leech, sutney is got a 
grudge 'ginst all o' we all. Dee done put dee cross marks 
'ginst Hiram too. Some say 'twas de Injun-Killer. Leech 
say he don' mine 'em — he's gwine to be gov'ner an' he say 
he'll know how to settle 'em ; but Hiram, sence he fine dat 
mark on de porch and on de tree, he walks right smart 
lighter'n he did." 

As they neared the county seat they met a body of 
negroes marching. The officers yelled at them to get out 
of the way, and old Waverley pulled out to one side. 
*' What are they ? " asked Jacquelin. 

" Dem's Cun'l Leech's soldiers," said Waverley — 
" dem's de mellish. When you meets dem you got to git 
out 'n de way, I tell you.'^ 


The change in the aspect of the conuty in the fcAv years 
of his absence impressed Jacquelin. It seemed to him 
greater even than that which had taken place during 
the war. The fields were more grown up ; the houses 
more dilapidated. But as much as these warned him, 
Jacquelin was not prepared for the change which on his 
arrival at Dr. Gary's he found had taken place. 

His mother's appearance struck a chill to his heart. 
His mother had become an old woman. She had kept 
everything from him that conld disturb him. He was 
shocked at the change which illness had made in her, and 
all he could do was to try and conceal his anguish. 

He sought Dr. Gary and had a long talk with him ; but 
the Doctor could not hold out any hope. It waa simply 
a general breakdown, he told him : the effect of years of 
anxiety. " You cannot transplant old trees," he said, sadly. 
Jacquelin ground his teeth in speechless self-reproach. 

'' Ah ! my dear Jacquelin, there are some things that 
even you could not have changed," said the Doctor, with a 
deep sigh. 

As Jacquelin looked at him the expression on the old 
physician's face went to his heart. 

" Yes, I know," he said, softly. " Ah ! well, we'll pull 

" You young men, perhaps ; not we old ones. "We are 
too broken to weather the storm. Your father was the 
fortunate one." 

As the young man went out from this interview he met 
Blair. She had Just come in from her school ; her cheeks 
were all aglow and she gave him a warm handclasp — and 
her eyes, after the first glance into his, fell. He was sure 
froniAvhat he had heard that she was engaged to Steve, and 
he had rehearsed a hundred times how he should meet her. 
Now like a puff of wind went all his strong resolutions. It 
was as though he had opened a door toward the sunrise. 
A fresh sense of her cliarm came over him as though he 
had just discovered her. Her presence appeared to him to 


fill all the place. She had grown in beauty since he went 
away. She was blushing and laughing and running away 
from Steve, who had met her outside and told her of 
Jacquelin's arrival, and was calling to her through the 
door to come back ; but after shaking hands with Jacquelin 
she sped on upstairs, with a little side glance at him as she 
ran up. She had never appeared so beautiful to Jacquelin. 
and his heart leaped up in him at her charm. It was the 
vision that had gone with him all around the globe. He 
followed her with his eyes. As she turned at the top of 
tlie stairs his heart sank ; for, leaning down over the banis- 
ters, she gave Steve a glance so full of meaning that 
Jacquelin took it all in in an instant. 

" I'm going to tell him," called Steve, teasingly. 

" No, you promised me you would not, Steve," and she 
was gone. 

Jacquelin turned to the door. 

Steve called him : 

" Jack, Jack, come here." 

But Jacquelin could not stand seeing him at that mo- 
ment. He wanted to be alone, and he went out to meet 
the full realization of it all by himself. 

Jacquelin made up his mind at once. Although Doctor 
and Mrs. Gary pressed him to stay with them, he felt 
that he could not live in the house with Blair. How could 
he sit by and see her and Steve day by day ! Steve was as 
a brother to him, and Blair, from her manner, meant to be 
a sister ; but he could not endure it. He declared his in- 
tention of starting at once to practise law. Steve offered 
him a partnership, meeting Jacquelin's objection tliat it 
would not be fair, with the statement that he would make 
Jacquelin do all the work, as he projDosed to be a states- 

So, as the Doctor had said that a change and occupation 
in household duties might possibly do Mrs. Gray good, 
Jacquelin rented a small farm between the Garys' and the 
old hospital-place on the river, and they moved there. His 


mother and Miss Thomasia furnished it with the assistance 
of Mrs. Gary, and Blair, and otlier neighbors ; tlie old 
pieces of furniture and other odds and ends giving, as 
Miss Thomasia said, '^a distinction which even the mean- 
ness of the structure itself could not impair. For, my 
dear,^' she said to Blair, who was visiting them the even- 
ing after they had made their exodus from Dr. Gary's 
to their new home, " I have often heard my grandfather 
say that nothing characterized gentle-people more than dig- 
nity under misfortune." And she smoothed down her 
faded dress and resumed her knitting with an air which 
Blair in vain tried to reproduce to her father on her return. 
Jacquelin was vaguely conscious that a change had come, 
not only over the old county since he left it, but over his 
friends also. Not merely had the places gone down, but 
the people themselves were somewhat changed. Tliey 
looked downcast ; their tone, formerly jovial and cheery, 
had a tinge of bitterness. In those few years a difference 
between him and them had grown up. He did not analyze 
it, but it was enough to disquiet him. Had his point of 
view changed ? He saw defects which he thought he 
could remedy. Those he was with, apparently saw none. 
They simply plodded on, as though oblivious of the facts. 
It made him unhappy. He determined to use his enlarged 
yiew, as he deemed it, to instruct and aid those who 
lacked his advantages. It seemed to him that, in his travels, 
his horizon had widened. On the high seas or in a for- 
eign land, it had been the flag of the nation that he wanted 
to see. He had begun to realize the idea of a great nation 
that should be known and respected wherever a ship could 
sail or a traveller could penetrate ; of a re-nnited country 
in which the people of both sides, retaining all the best 
of both sides, should vie with each other in building up 
the nation, and should equally receive all its benefits. He 
had pondered much on this, and he thought he had discov- 
ered the way to accomplish it, in a complete acceptance of 
the new situation. 


It was a great Mow to Jacquelin to find on his return 
what extraordinary changes had taken place in the county : 
Still, occupying not only his old home, but Dr. Gary's ; 
Leech the supreme power in all public matters in the 
county ; Nicholas Ash driving a carriage, with money that 
must have been stolen ; and almost the entire gentry of the 
State either turned out of their homes or just holding on, 
while those whom lie had left half-amused chiklreji playing 
at the game of freedmeu, were parading around the coun- 
try in all the bravery and insolence of an armed mob. All 
this was a shock to him. He spoke of his views to Dr. 
Gary. The Doctor was the jierson who had first suggested 
the idea to his mind, and was the one who, he felt, was the 
soundest and safest guide to follow. In the little that he 
had seen of him since his return he had found him, as he 
knew he would be, precisely the same he had always been, 
absolutely calm and unruffled. To bis astonishment the 
Doctor shook his head. 

" It is Utopian. I thought so myself formerly and, as you 
may remember, incurred much animadversion and some 
obloquy. I did not care a button about that. But I am 
not sure that General Legale and those who agreed with 
him, whose action I at that time thought the height of 
folly, were not nearer right than I was. I am sure my 
principle was correct, and, perhaps, had they yielded and 
gone in with us at the beginning it might have been diifer- 
ent ; but I am not certain as to it now." He bowed his 
head in deep and painful reflection. 

" It is now vae victis, and the only hope is in resistance," 
he proceeded, sadly. " Yielding is esteemed simply a con- 
fession of cowardice. The miscreants who rule us know 
no restraint excejit fear. You will be astonished when 1 
lell you that the last few years have almost overthrown the 
views I have held for a lifetime. I am nearer agreeing 
with Legale than I ever was in my whole life." Tlie old 
fellow shook his head in deep despondency over this fatal 


Jacqnelin did not agree with him. He had all a young 
man's confidence. He determined that he would effect his 
ends by law. He shortly had an illustration of what the 
Doctor meant. 

Mrs. Gray was failing steadily. The strain she had un- 
dergone had been too much for her. She had lived only 
until Jacquelin's return. 

To the end, all her heart was on her old home. In those 
last days she went back constantly to the time when she 
had come as a bride to her home adorned with all that love 
and forethought could devise. The war and the long 
years of struggle seemed to have been blotted out and her 
memory appeared only to retain and to dwell on every 
scene of the old life. One of her constant thoughts was : 
If she could only have lain at the old home, at her hus- 
band's side ! So, she passed quietly away. In the watches 
of the last night, when no one was with her but Jacqnelin, 
after she had talked to him of Eupert and confided him to 
his care, she asked Jacqnelin if he thought she might ever 
be taken home. His father and she had picked out the 
spot under one of the great trees. 

" Mother," said Jacqnelin, kneeling beside her and hold- 
ing one of her thin, transparent hands in his, " if I live 
and God is good to me, you shall lie there." 

He had consulted General Legale and Steve on the sub- 
ject, and they both had thought that the buryiug-ground 
had not been conveyed in the deed to Still, though Leech, 
to whom, as counsel for Still, they had broached the mat- 
ter, asserted that it had been included. 

The day Mrs. Gray died. Dr. Gary wrote a note to Still 
on Jacquelin's behalf, though without his knowledge, in- 
dicating his cousin's wish to bury his mother beside his 
father, and saying that it would not be held to affect any 
question of ownership at issue between them. 

To this Still replied that while he should be " very glad 
to do anything that Dr. Gary or a7iy memher of his family 
asked for themselves" he would not permit any oiitsiikr to 


be buried on his place, especially one who had insulted 
him ; that he did not acknowledge that any question ex- 
isted as to his title ; and that he was prepared to show that, 
if so, it was unfounded. He added that he was " going to 
remove the tomb-stones, cut down the trees, clear up the 
place, and get rid of the old grave-yard altogether/' 

A part of the letter was evidently written by a lawyer. 

Dr. Gary felt that he could not withhold this notification 
from Jacquelin. Before doing so, however, he consulted 
General Legale. The little General's eyes snaj^ped as he 
read the letter. " Ah ! if he were only a gentleman ! " he 
sighed. The next moment he broke out. " I'll lay rny 
riding-whip across the dog's shoulders ! That's what I'll 
do." The Doctor tried to soothe him. He would show 
the letter to Jacquelin, he said. The General protested. 
" My dear sir, if you do, there will be trouble. Young 
men are so rash. They have not the calm deliberation that 
we have.'''' The Doctor, recalling his conversation with 
Jacquelin, said he thought he could rely on his wisdom. 
" If he sees that letter there will be trouble," asserted the 
General, '* or he is not the nephew of his — ahem ! not the 
son of his father." However, the Doctor was firm. So he 
broke the matter to Jacqueliu. To their surprise, Jacquelin 
took it very quietly ; he did not say anything nor appear 
to mind it a great deal. The General's countenance fell. 
" Young men have changed since my day," be said, sadly. 

So Mrs. Gray was buried in what had been a part of the 
church-yard of the old brick-church, and Jacquelin, walk- 
ing with his arm around Rupert, was as quiet as Miss 

That afternoon he excused himself from the further at- 
tendance of his friends, left his aunt and Eupert and 
walked out alone. He went first to the house of his neigh- 
bor, Stamper. Him Jacquelin told of his purpose. Stamper 
wished to accompany him ; but he woukl not permit that. 
" Have you got a pistol ? " asked 8t:miper. No, ho was 
not armed, he said ; he only wanted his friend to know. 


"in case anything should happen," Then he walked 
away in the direction of Red Eock, leaving little Stamper 
leaning on the bars looking after him rather wistfully un- 
til he had disappeared. 

He had not been gone long when Stamper started after 
him. "If he gets hold of him, I'm afeared he'll kill 
him/' he muttered as he hurried along. 

It was after sunset, and Hiram Still was sitting alone in 
the hall at Red Rock, by a table in the drawers of which 
he kept his papers. He never liked to sit in the dark, 
and had just called for a light. He was waiting for it. He 
was not in a good humor, for he had had something of a 
quarrel with Leech, and his son Wash had taken the 
latter's side. The young doctor was always taking sides 
against him these days. They had made him write Dr. 
Gary that he was going to clear up the grave-yard, and he 
was not at all sure that it was a good thing to do ; he had 
always heard that it was bad luck to break up a grave-yard, 
and now they had left him alone in tlie house. Even the 
drink of whiskey he had taken had not restored his good 

Why did not the light come? He roared an oath toward 
the open door. " D n the lazy niggers ! " 

Suddenly there was a step, or something like a step, near 
him — he was not sure about it, for he must have been 
dozing — and he looked up. His heart jumped into his 
throat. Before him in the hall stood, tall and gray, the 
" Indian-killer," his eyes blazing like coals of fire. 

" Good God ! " he gasped. 

No, it was speaking — it was a man. But it was almost 
as bad. Still had not seen Jacquelin before in two years. 
And he had never noticed how like the "Indian-killer" 
he was. What did he want ? 

"I have come to see you about the grave-yard," said 
Jacquelin. The voice was his father's. It smote Still like 
a voice from the dead. 

Still wanted to apologize to him ; but he could not speak. 


his throat was dry. There was a pistol in the drawer be- 
fore him and he pulled the drawer open and put his hand 
on it. The cold steel recalled him to himself and he drew 
it toward him, his courage reviving. Jacquelin must 
have heard the sound ; he was right over him. 

" If you attempt to draw that pistol on me," he said, 
quietly, " I will kill you right where you sit." 

Whether it was the man's unstrung condition, or whether 
it was Jacquelin's resemblance to the fierce Indian-killer, 
as he stood there in the dusk with his eyes burning, his 
strong hands twitching, or whether it Avas his unexpected 
stalwartness and fierceness as he towered above the over- 
seer, the latter sank back with a whine. 

A negro entered at a side door with a light, but stood 
still, amazed at the scene, muttering to himself : " Good 
Lordy ! " 

Jacquelin went on speaking. He told Still that if he 
cut down so much as a bush in that grave-yard until he had 
a decision of court authorizing him to do so, he would kill 
him, even if he had the whole Government of the United 
States around him. 

"Now, I have come here to tell you this," he said, in 
the same quiet, strange voice, *' and I have come to tell 
you one thing more, that you will not be in this place 
always. We are coming back here, the living and the 

Still turned even more livid than before. " What do you 
mean?" he gasped. 

" What I say, we are coming back." He swept his eye 
around the hall, turned on his heel, and walked toward 
the picture over the fireplace. Just then a gust of wind 
blew out the lamp the negro held, leaving the hall in 
gloom. When the servant came back with a light, accord- 
ing to the story that he told, Still was raving like a mad- 
man, and he drank whiskey and raved all night. 

Neither Still nor Jacquelin ever spoke of the interview ; 
but a story got abroad in the neighborhood that the old 



Indian-killer had appeared to Still the night of Mrs. Gray's 
burial and threatened him with death if he slionld ever 
touch the grave-yard. Still said he had never meant to 
touch it anyhow, and that Leech had made him put it in 
the letter for a joke. It was, however, a dear joke. 

For a time there was quite a coolness between the 
friends ; but they had too much in common to be able to 
afford to quarrel, so it was made up. 



Other changes than those already recorded had taken 
place in the years that had passed since the day when 
Middleton and Thurston, on their way to take command 
of a part of the conquered land, had fonnd Jacquelin 
Gray outstretched under a tree at the little country station 
in the Eed Rock County. In this period Middleton had 
won promotion in the West, and a wound which had 
necessitated a long leave of absence and a tour abroad ; 
and finally, his retirement from the service. Reely Thur- 
ston, who was now a Captain himself, declared that Mid- 
dleton's wound was received in the South and not in the 
West, and that if such wounds were to be recognized, he 
himself ought to have been sent abroad. The jolly little 
officer, however, if he wished to boast of wounds of this 
nature, might have cited a later one ; for he had for some 
time been a devoted admirer of Miss Ruth Welch, who 
had grown from a romping girl to a lively and very hand- 
some young lady, and had, as Reely said of her, the warm- 
est heart toward all mankind, except a man in love with 
lier, and the coldest tov/ard him, of any girl in the world. 
However this might be, she had turned a very stony heart 
toward Thurston in common with a number of others, 
and after a season or two at fashionable summer- resorts 
was finding, or thinking she was finding, all men insipid 
and life very commonplace and hollow. She declared 
that she liked Thurston better tlian any other man except 
her father and a half dozen or more others, all of whom 
labored under the sole di^alvantage of being married, 



and she finally, as the price of the continnance of this 
somewhat measurable state of feeling, bound the Captain 
by the most solemn pledges never to so much as hint at 
any desire on his part for a higher degree of affection. 

The little soldier would have sworn by all the gods, 
liigher and lower, to anything that Ruth Welch proposed, 
for the privilege of being her slave ; but he could no more 
have stopped bringing up the forbidden subject when in 
her presence, than he could have sealed up the breath in 
his plump and manly bosom. He was always like a cat 
that in sight of cream, though knowing he is on his 
good behavior, yet, with invincible longing, licks his 

No doubt the game had additional zest for Captain 
Thurston from the disapproval with which Mrs. Welch al- 
ways regarded him. He never approached Miss Euth 
without that lady fluttering around with the semi-comical 
distress of an anxious hen that cannot see even tlie house- 
dog approach her chick, without ruffling her feathers and 
showing fight. 

This had thrown Thurston into a state of rather chronic 
opposition to the good lady, and he revenged himself for 
the loss of the daughter, by a habit of ajipareutly espousing 
whatever the mother disapproved of, who on her part, 
lived in a constant effort to prove him in the wrong. 

He had even ventured to express open skepticism as to 
the wisdom of the steps Mrs. Welch and her Aid Society 
had been taking in their philanthropic efforts on behalf of 
the freedmen ; giving expression to the heretical doctrine 
tiiat in the main the negroes had been humanely treated 
before the war, and that the question should be dealt 
with now from an economical rather than from a senti- 
mental standpoint. He gave it as his opinion that the 
people down there knew more about the Negro, and the 
questions arising out of the new conditions, than those 
who were undertaking to settle those questions, from a 
distance, and that, if let alone, the questions would settle 

26(5 KED ROCK 

themselves. While as to Leech, the correspondent of Mrs. 
AVelch's society, he declared that he would not believe any- 
thing he said. 

Nothing could have scandalized Mrs. Welch more than 
such an utterance. And it is probable that this attitude 
on Thurston's part did as much as her real philanthropy 
to establish her in the extreme views she held. 

For some time past there had been appearing in the 
Censor, the chief paper in the city where the Welches 
lived, a series of letters giving a dreadful, and, what Mrs. 
Welch considered, a powerful account of the outrages that 
were taking place in the South. According to the writer, 
the entire native white population were engaged in nothing 
but the systematic murder and mutilation of unoffending 
negroes and Northern settlers, who on their side were 
wholly without blame and received this persecution with 
the most Christian and uncomplaining humility. 

The author's name was not given, because, it was stated 
in the letters, if it were known, he would at once be mur- 
dered. Indeed, it was declared that the letters were not 
written for publication at all, but were sent to a philan- 
thropic organization composed of the best and most be- 
nevolent ladies in the country, who would vouch for the 
high standing of the noble Christian gentleman from 
whose pen the accounts emanated. As tlie letters were 
from the very section — indeed, from the very neighbor- 
hood which Thurston always cited as an evidence of the 
beneficent effect of his theory of moderation — Mrs. Welch, 
who was the head of the organization to which Leech had 
written them, saved them for the purpose of confounding 
and, once for all, disposing of Captain Thurston's argu- 
ments, together with himself. 

So one morning when Thurston Avas calling on Euth 
Mrs. Welch brought in the whole batch of papers and 
plumped them down before him with a triumphant air. 

"Now, you read every word before you express an 
opinion," she said, decisively. 


While Thurston read, Mrs. Welch, who was enjoying 
her triumph, annotated each letter with running cofn- 
ments. These impressed Ruth greatly, but Thurston 
wilily kept liis face from giving the slightest clew to his 
thoughts. When he was through reading, Mrs. AVelch drew 
a long breath of exultation. 

" Well, what do you say to that ? " 

"I don't believe it \" said Thurston, calmly. 

" What ! " Mrs. Welch was lifted out of her chair by 

" The writer of that is Jonadab Leech, one of the most 
unmitigated " 

" Captain Thurston ! You do not know what you are 
talking about ! " exclaimed Mrs. Welch. 

" Do you mean to say Leech is not the writer of those 

" No, I did not say that," said Mrs. Welch, who would 
have cut out her tongue before she would have uttered a 

" I would not believe Leech on oath," said the Captain, 

" Oh, well, if that's the stand you take, there's no use 
reasoning with you." And with a gesture expressive botli 
of pity and sorrow that she must wash her hands of him 
completely and forever, Mrs. Welch gathered ujd her papers 
and indignantly swept from the room. 

When Thurston went away that day he had entrusted 
Ruth with an apology for Mrs. Welch capable of being ex- 
panded, as circumstances might require, to an unlimited 
degree ; for Ruth had explained to him how dear to her 
mother's heart her charities were. But he had also given 
Ruth such sound reasons for his views regarding the peojile 
in the region where he had been stationed that, however 
her principles remained steadfast, the sympathies of the 
girl had gone out to those whom he described as in such 
incredible difficulties, 

" Ask Larry about Miss Blair Cary," he said. " Ask 


him which is the better man, Dr. Gary or Jonadab Leech, 
and which he'd believe first, that Steve Allen, who is 
sjDoken of as such a ruffian, or Hiram Still, the martyr." 

^' And how about Miss Dockett ? " Ruth's eyes twin- 

" Miss Dockett ?— Who is Miss Dockett ?" The little 
Captain's face wore so comical an exijression of counterfeit 
innocence and sheepish guilt that the girl burst out laugh- 

" Have you been in love with so many Miss Docketts 
that you can't remember which one lived down there ? " 

"No — oh, the girl I am in love with ? Miss Ruth — ah, 
Dockett wasn't the name. It began with Wei — ." He 
looked at Ruth with so languishing an expression that she 
held np a warning finger. 


He pretended to misunderstand her. 

" Certainly I remember — Ruth AVelch." 

Ruth gathered up her things to leave. 

" Please don't go. — Now that just slipped out. I swear 
I'll not say another word on the subject as long as I live, 
if you'll just sit down." 

" I can't trust you." 

"Yes, you can, I swear it; and I'll tell yon all abou^ 
Miss Dockett and — Steve Allen." 

This was too much for Ruth, and she reseated herself 
with impressive condescension. 

Miss Welch was greatly interested for other reasons. 
Her father's health had not been very good of late, and he 
had been thinking of getting a winter home in the Soutli, 
where he could be most of the time out of doors, as an old 
wound in his chest still troubled him sometimes, and the 
doctors said he must not for the present spend another 
winter in the North. He had been in correspondence 
with this very Mr. Still, who was spoken of so highly in 
those letters, about a place just where this trouble was. 

Besides, a short time before this conversation of Rutli's 


with Thurston^ Major Welch had received a letter from 
Middletou, who was still abroad, asking him to look into 
his affairs. He had always enjoyed a large income, but 
of late it had, he stated, fallen off, owing, as Mr. Bolter, 
his agent, explained, to temporary complications growing 
out of extensive investments Bolter had made for him 
on joint account with himself in Southern enterprises. 
These investments, Mr. Bolter assured him, were perfectly 
safe and would yield in a short time immense profits, being 
guaranteed by the State, and managed by the strongest 
and most successful men down there, who were themselves 
deeply interested in the schemes. It had happened, that 
the very names Bolter had given as a guarantee of the se- 
curity of his investment, had aroused Middleton's anxiety, 
and though he had no reason, he said, to doubt Bolter, he 
did doubt Leech and Still, the men Bolter had mentioned. 

Major Welch had made an investigation. And it had 
shown him that the investments referred to were so exten- 
sive as to involve a considerable part of his cousin's estate. 

Bolter gave Major Welch what struck the latter quite 
as an ''audience," though, when he learned the Major's 
business, he suddenly unbent and became much more 
confidential, explaining everything with promptness and 
clearness. Bolter was a strong-looking, stout man, with a 
round head and a strong face. His brow was rather low, 
but his eyes were keen and his mouth firm. As he sat in 
his inner business office, with his clerks in outer pens, he 
looked the picture of a successful, self-contained man. 

" Why, they fight a railroad coming into their country 
as if it were a public enemy," he said to Major Welch, 

" Then they must be pretty formidable antagonists."' 

" And I have gotten letters warning me and denouncing 
the men who have planned and worked up the matter — and 
who would carry it through if they were allowed to do so 
— as though they were thieves." 

He rang a bell and sent for the letters. Among them 
was one from Dr. Gary and another from General Le- 


gaie. Though strangers, they said they wrote to him as 
oue reported to be interested, and protested against the 
scheme of Still and Leech, who were destroying the State 
and pillaging the people. They contrasted the condition 
of the State before the war and at the present time. Dr. 
Gary's letter stated that " for purposes of identification " 
he would say that both his father and grandfather had 
been Governors of the State. General Legaie's letter was 
signed "Late General, C. S. A." 

" What are you going to do with such people ! " ex- 
claimed Mr. Bolter. " They abuse those men as if they 
were pickpockets, and they are the richest and most influ- 
ential men in that county, and Leech will, without doubt, 
be the next Governor." He handed Major Welch a news- 
paper containing a glowing account of Leech's services to 
the Commonwealth, and a positive assertion that he would 
be the next Governor of the State. 

"What did you write them in reply?" asked Major 
Welch, who was taking another glance at the letters. 

" Why, I wrote them that I believed I was capable of 
conducting my own affairs," said the capitalist, with satis- 
faction, running his hands deep in his pockets ; " and if 
they would stop thinking about their grandfathers and 
the times before the war, and think a little more about 
their children and the present, it would be money in their 

" And what did they reply to that ? " 

"Ah — why, I don't believe I ever got any reply to that. 
I suppose the moss had covered them by that time," he 
laughed. Major Welch looked thoughtful, and the capi- 
*-talist changed his tone. 

"Li fact I had already made the investments, and I had 
to see them through. Major Leech is very friendly to me. 
It was through him we were induced to go into the eiiter- 
prise — through him — and because of the opportunities it 
offered, at the same time that it was made perfectly safe by 
the guarantee of both the counties and the States. Hei 


used to be in my — in our — employ, and he is a very shrewd 
fellow, Leech is. That was the way we came to go in, and 
it doesn't do to swap horses in the stream." 

" Mrs. Welch thinks very highly of him," said Major 
Welch, meditatively. " She has had some correspond- 
ence with him on behalf of lier charitable society for 
the freedmen, and she has been much imjiressed by 

" My only question was whether he was not a little too 
philanthropic," said Bolter, significantly. " But since I 
have come to find out, I guess he has used his philanthropy 
pretty discreetly. He's a very shrewd fellow." His smile 
and manner grated on the Major somewhat. 

" Perhaps he is too shrewd ?" he suggested, dryly. 

" Oh, no, not for me. I have made it a rule in life to 
treat every man as a rascal " 

" Oh ! " A shadow crossed the Major's brow, which 
Bolter was quick to catch. 

''Until I found out differently." 

" I should think the other would have been rather incon- 
venient." Major Welch changed the subject. " But Cap- 
tain Middleton had some sort of trouble with this man, and 
has always had a dislike for him. And I think I shall go 
South and look into matters there." 

'" Oh, well, that's nothing," broke in Bolter, hotly. 
'•' What does Middleton know about business ? That's his 
trouble. These military officers don't understand the word. 
They are always stickling for their d — d dignity, and think 
if a man ain't willing to wipe up the floor for 'em he's 
bound to be a rascal." 

It was as much the sudden insolence in the capitalist's 
tone, as his words that offended Major Welch. He rose to 
his feet. 

" I am not aware, that being officers, and having risked 
their lives to save their country, necessarily makes men 
either more narrow or greater fools than those who stayed 
at home," he said, coldly. 

372 RED r.ooK 

The other, after a sharp glance at him, was ou his fecfc 
in an instant, his whole manner changed. 

" My dear sir. You have misunderstood me. I assure 
yon you have." And he jDroceeded to smooth the Major 
down with equal shrewdness and success ; delivering a most 
warm and eloquent eulogy on patriotism in general, and on 
that of Captain Lawrence Middleton in particular. Truth 
to tell, it was not hard to do, as the Major was one of the 
most placable of men, except where a princijile was in- 
volved ; then he was rock. 

Bolter wound up by making Major Welch an offer, which 
the latter could not but consider handsome, to go South 
and represent his interests as well as Middleton's. 

" If he is going there he better be on my side than 
against me, and his hands would be tied then anyway," re- 
flected Bolter. 

" You will find our interests identical," he said, seeing 
the Major's hesitation. " We are both in the same boat. 
And you will find that I have done by Mr. Middleton just 
what I have done for myself. And I have taken every pre- 
caution, of that you may be sure. And we are bound to 
win. Wo have the most successful men in the State with us, 
bound up by interest, and also as tight as paper can bind 
them. We have the law with us, the men who make, and 
the men who construe the law, and against us, only a few 
old mossbacks and soreheads. If they can beat that com- 
bination I should like to see them do it." 

The only doubt in Major Welch's mind as to the jiro- 
priety of a move to the South was on account of his 

The condition of affairs there made no difference to Major 
Welch himself — for he felt that he had the Union behind 
him — and he knew it made none to Mrs. AVelch. She luul 
been working her hands off for two years to send things 
to the negroes through these men. Still and Leech. But 
with Ruth, Avho was the apple of her father's eye, it might 
be another matter. 


But wlien tlie subject was broached to Euth, and she 
chimed in and sketched, with real enthusiasm, the delights 
of living in the South, in the country — the real country — 
amid palm and orange groves, the Major's mind was set 
at rest. He only cautioned lier against building her air- 
castles too high, as he knew there were no orange-groves 
where they were going, and though there might be palms, 
he doubted if they were of the material sort, or very easy 
to obtain. 

Euth^s ardor, however, was not to be damped just then. 

" Why, the South is the land of Eomance, Papa." 

*' It will be if you are there," smiled her father. 

It is said that curiosity is a potent motive with what used 
to be called the gentler, and, occasionally, even the weaker 
sex, a distinction that for some time has been passing, if 
it has not altogether passed, away. But far be it from the 
writer even to appear to give adherence to such a doc- 
trine by anything that he may set down in this veracious 
chronicle. He does not recollect ever to have heard this 
remark made by any of the thousands of women whom he 
has known, personally, or through books with which the 
press teems, and he feels sure that had it been true it 
would not have escaped their acute observation. In re- 
cording, therefore, the move of the Welches to the South 
he is simj)ly reporting facts. 

On the occasion of the discussion between Mrs. Welch 
and Captain Thurston, Mrs. Welch was left by that gentle- 
man in what, in a weaker woman, might have been deemed 
a state of exasperation. After all the trouble she had 
taken to secure the evidence to confound and annihilate 
that young man, he had with a breath undermined her 
foundation, or, rather, had shown that her imposing fabric 
had no foundation whatever. He knew Leech, and she 
did not. She would now go and satisfy herself by per- 
sonal knowledge that she was right and he wrong — as she 
well knew to be the case, anyhow. So, many people start 
out on a quest for information, not to test, but to prove, 


their ojoinions. Thus, when Major Welch came with 
the statement of the offer he had received, Mrs. Welcli 
truthfully declared that she in some sort saw in it the 
hand of Providence. This was strengthened by a conver- 
sation with Miss Kuth, who quoted Thurston's opinion of 

" Captain Thurston, my dear ! " said Mrs. Welch. " So 
light and frivolous a person as Captain Thurston is really 
incapable of forming a just opinion of such a man as Mr. 
Leech, whose letters breathe a spirit of the truest Christian 
humility, as well as the most exalted courage under cir- 
cumstances which might well make even a strong man 
quail. I hope you Avill not quote Captain Thurston to me 
again. You know what my opinion of him has always 
been, I never could understand what your father's and 
Lawrence Middleton's infatuation for him was. Besides, 
you know that Captain Thurston was in love witli some 
girl down in that country, and when a man is in love he is 
absolutely irresponsible. Love makes a man a fool about 

Thus Mrs. Welch, so to speak, shot at, even if she did 
not kill, two birds with one stone. If she did not kill this 
second bird it was not her fault, as the glance which she 
gave Euth showed. Ruth's face did not wholly satisfy her, 
for she added : 

" Besides that, Mr. Bolter has been down there and he 
tells me that he thinks very highly of Major Leecli." 

" Oh, Mr. Bolter ! I don't like Mr. Bolter, and neither 
do you,'^ began Miss Ruth. 

" My dear, that is very unreasonable ; what possible 
cause can you have to dislike Mr. Bolter, for you do not 
know him at all ? " 

"I have met him. lie did not go into the army ; but 
stayed at home and made money. Papa does not like him 

" Don't you see how illogical that is. We cannot dis- 
like everyone who did not go into the army." 


" No, I know that." Ruth pondered a moment and 
then broke out, hxughing : "Why, mamma, I have given 
two reasons for not liking Mr. Bolter, and you did not give 
any for disliking Captain Thurston." 

" That is different," replied Mrs. Welch, gravely, though 
she did not explain precisely how, and jjerhaps Ruth did 
not see it. 

"Mamma," burst out Ruth, warmly, her face glowing, 
" I believe in a man's fighting for what he believes right. 
If I had been a man when the war broke out I should have 
gone into it, and if I had lived at the South I should 
have fought for the South." 

" Ruth ! " exclaimed her mother, deeply shocked. 

" I would, mamma, I know I would, and you would too ; 
for I know how much trouble you took to get an exchange 
for that young boy, Mr. Jacquelin or something, that Miss 
Bush, the nurse, was interested in." 

"Ruth, I hope I shall never hear you say that again," 
protested Mrs. Welch, warmly. " You do not understand." 

"I think I do — I won't say it again — but I have wanted 
to say it for a long time, and I feel so much better for 
having said it, mamma." 

So the conversation ended. 

It was decided that Major Welch and Ruth should go 
ahead and select a place which they could rent until 
they should find one that exactly suited them, and then 
Mrs. Welch, as soon as she could finish packing the furni- 
ture and other things which they would want, should fol- 
low them. 

A week later, Ruth and her father found themselves in 
the old county and almost at their journey's end, in a re- 
gion which though as far as possible from Ruth's concep- 
tion of palm and orange groves, was to the girl, shut up 
as she had been all her life in a city, not a whit less ro- 
mantic and strange. 

It was far wilder than she had supposed it would be. 
The laud lay fallow, or was cultivated only in patches ; the 

276 KED llOCK 

woods were forests and seemed to stretch interminably ; 
the fields were growing up in bushes and briars. And yet 
the birds flitted and sang in every thicket, and over every- 
thing rested an air of peace that sank into Ruth's soul, as 
slie jolted along in a little rickety wagon which they had 
hired at the station, and filled her with a sense of novelty 
and content. She was already beginning to feel something 
of the charm of which her cousin, Larry Middleton, and 
Captain Thurston were always talking. Some time, per- 
haps, she would see Blair Gary, about whom Reely Thur- 
ston was always hinting in connection with Larry Middle- 
ton ; and she tried to picture to herself what she would be 
like — small and dark and very vivacious, or else no doubt, 
haughty. She was sure she should not like her. 

On her father, however, the same surroundings that 
pleased Miss Ruth had a very diiferent effect. Major 
Welch had always carried in his mind the picture of this 
section as he remembered it the first time he rode through 
it, when it was filled with fine plantations and pleasant 
homesteads, and where, even during the war, the battle 
in which he had been wounded had been fought amid 
orchards and rolling fields and pastures. 

At length, at the top of the hill they came to a fork, but 
though there was an open field between the roads, such as 
Major Welch remembered, there was no church there ; in 
the open field was only a great thicket, an acre or more 
in extent, and the field behind it was nothing but a wilder- 

" We've missed the road, just as I supposed," said Major 
Welch. " We ought to have kept nearer to the river, and I 
will take this road and strike the other somewhere down 
this way. I thought this country looked very different — 
and yet — ? " He gazed all around him, at the open fields 
filled with bushes and briars, the rolling hills beyond, and 
the rampart of blue spurs across the background. 

" No, we must have crossed Twist Creek lower down 
that day.'* He turned into the road' leading off from 


that they had been travelling, and drove on. This way, 
however, the country appeared even wilder, and they had 
driven two or three miles before they saw anyone. Finally 
they came on a man walking along, just where a footpath 
left the road and turned across the old field. He was a 
small, sallow fellow, very shabbily dressed, the only notice- 
able thing about him being his eyes, which were both keen 
and good-humored. Major Welch stopped him and in- 
quired as to their way. 

" Where do you want to go ? " asked the man, politely. 

" I want to go to Mr. Hiram Still's," said the Major. 

The countryman gave him a quick glance. 

"Well, you can't git there this way," he said, his tone 
changed a little ; " the bridge is down, on this road and 
nobody don't travel it much now — you'll have to go back 
to Old Brick Church and take the other road. There's 
a new bridge on that road, but it's sort o' rickety since 
these freshes, and you have to take to the old ford again. 
One of Hiram's and Jonadab's jobs," he explained, with a 
note of hostility in his voice. Then, in a more friendly 
tone, he added : " The water's up still from last night's rjiin, 
and the ford ain't the best no time, so you better not try 
it unless you have somebody as knows it to set you right. 
I would go myself, but " He hesitated, a little embar- 
rassed — and the Major at once protested. 

" No, indeed ! Just tell me where is Old Brick Church." 

" That fork back yonder where you turned is what's 
called Old Brick Church," said the man; "that's where 
it used to stand." 

" What has become of the church ? " 

" Pulled down during the war." 

" Why don't they rebuild it? " asked the Major, a little 
testily over the man's manner. 

"Well, I s'pose they think it's cheaper to leave it 
down," said the man, dryly. 

" Is there any place where we could spend the night?" 
the Major asked, with a glance up at the sunset sky. 


'' Oh, Hiram Still, lie's got a big house. He'll take you 
in, if he gits a chance,^' he said, half grimly. 

"But I mean, if we get overtaken by night this side 
the river? You tell me the bridge is shaky and the ford 
filled up now. I have my daughter along and don't want 
to take any chances." 

" Oh, papa, the idea ! As if I couldn't go anywhere 
you went," put in Ruth, suddenly. 

, At the Major's mention of his daughter, the man's man- 
ner changed. 

" There's Doct'r Gary's," he said, with a return of his 
first friendly tone. " They take everyone in. You just 
turn and go back by Old Brick Church, and keep the 
main, plain road till you jDass two forks on your left and 
three on your right, then turn in at the third you come to 
on your left, and go down a hill and up another, and you're 
right there." The Major and Ruth were both laughing ; 
their director, however, remained grave. 

"Ain't no fences nor gates to stop you. Just keejo the 
main, plain road, like I tell you, and you can't git out." 

"I can't? Well, I'll see," said the Major, and after an 
inquiring look at the man, he turned and drove back. 

" What bright eyes he has," said Ruth, but her father 
was pondering. 

"It's a most curious thing; but that man's face and 
voice were both familiar to me," said he, presently. " Quite 
as if I had seen them before in a dream. Did you observe 
how his whole manner changed as soon as I mentioned 
Still's name ? They are a most intractable people." 

" But I'm sure he was very civil," defended Ruth. 

" Civility costs nothing and often means nothing. Ah, 
well, we shall see." And the Major drove on. 

As they passed by the fork again, both travellers looked 
curiously across at the great clump of trees rising out of 
the bushes and briars. The notes of a dove cooing in 
the soft light came from somewhere in the brake. They 
made out a gleam of white among the bushes, but neither 


of them spoke. Major Welch was recalling a night he 
had spent in that churchyard amid the dead and the 

Ruth was thinking of the description Middleton had 
given of the handsome mansion and grounds of Dr. 
Gary, and was wondering if this Dr. Gary could be the 



The sun had already set some little time and the dusk 
was falling when they came to a track turning off from the 
'' main, plain road/' which they agreed must be that de- 
scribed to them as leading to Dr. Gary's. They turned 
in, and after passing through a skirt of woods came out 
into a field, beyond which, at a little distance, they saw 
a light. They drove on ; but as they mounted the hill 
from which the light had shone Euth's heart sank, for, 
as well as they could tell through the gathering dusk, 
there was no house there at all, or if there was, it was hid- 
den by the trees around it. On reaching the crest, how- 
ever, they saw the light again, which came from a small 
cottage at the far side of the orchard, that looked like a 
little farm-house. 

" Well, we've missed Dr. Gary's after all," said Major 

It was too late now, however, to retrace their steps ; so 
Major Welch, Avith renewed objurgations at the stupidity of 
people who could not give a straight direction, determined 
to let Dr. Gary's go, and ask accommodation there. Ac- 
cordingly, they picked their way through the orchard and 
drove up to the open door from which the light was shin- 

At the Major's halloo a tall form descended the low steps 
and came to them. Major Welch stated their case as be- 
lated travellers. 

Ruth's heart was instantly warmed by the cordial re- 
sponse : 



" Get right out, sir — glad to have you. 

"Ah, my dear — here are a lady and gentleman who want 
to spend the night." This to a slender figure who had come 
out of the house and joined them. " My daughter, madam ; 
my daughter, sir." 

" Good-evening," said the girl, and Euth, who had been 
wondering at the softness of these farmer- voices, recollected 
herself just in time to take the hand which she found held 
out to her in the darkness in instinctive friendliness. 

" I am Major Welch," said that gentleman, not to be 
behind his host in politeness. " And this is my daughter." 

''We are glad to see you," repeated the young girl sim- 
ply to Euth in her charming voice, as if the introduction 
required a little more formal greeting. 

''Ah ! Major, glad to see you," said the host, heartily. 
" Are you any relation to my old friend. General Welch 
of Columbia, who was with Johnson ? " 

" I don't think so," said Major Welch. 

" Ah ! I knew a Major Welch in the Artillery, and an- 
other in the Sixth Georgia, I think," hazarded the liost. 
" Are you either of those ? " 

" No," said the Major, with a laugh, " I Avas not. I 
was on the other side — I was in the Engineer Corps under 

" Oh ! " said the host, in such undisguised surprise that 
Euth could feel herself grow hot, and was sensible, even in 
the darkness, of a change in her father's attitude. 

" Perhaps it may not be agree 1 mean, convenient, 

for you to take us in to-night ?" said Major Welch, rather 

"Oh, my dear sir," protested the .other, '*the war is 
over, isn't it ? Of course it's convenient. My wife is 
away just now, but, of course, it is always convenient to 
take in wayfarers." And he led the horse off, while his 
daughter, whose quiet "Won't you walk in?" soothed 
Euth's ruffled S23irit, conducted them into the house. 

When Euth entered she had not the slightest idea as to 


either the name or appearance of their hosts. They had 
evidently assumed that the travellers knew who they were 
when they applied to spend the night, and it had been too 
dark outside for Euth to see their faces. She only knew 
that they had rich voices and cordial, simple manners, 
such as even the plainest farmers appeared to have in this 
strange land, and she had a mystified feeling. As she 
entered the door her mystification only increased. The 
room into which she was coiiducted from the little veran- 
da was a sitting or living room, lower in pitch than al- 
most any room Ruth had ever been in, while its appoint- 
ments appeared curiously incongruous to her eyes, dazzled 
as they were from coming in suddenly from the darkness. 
Ruth took in this rather than observed it as she became 
accustomed to the light, for the first glance of the two 
girls was at each other. Ruth found herself astonished 
at the appearance of her hostess. Her face was so refined 
and her figure so slim that it occurred to Ruth that she 
might be an invalid. Her dress was simple to plainness, 
plainer than Ruth had ever r3en the youngest girl wear, 
and her breast-pin was nothing but a brass button, such 
as soldiers wear on their coats ; yet her manners were as 
composed and gracious as if she had been a lady and in 
society for years. 

''Why, she looks like a lady,^ thought the girl, with a 
new feeling of shyness coming over her, and she stole a 
glance around her for something which would enable her 
to decide her hosts' real position. The appointments of 
the room, however, only mystified her the more. A plain, 
white board bookcase filled with old books stood on one 
side, with a gun resting in the corner, against it ; two or 
three portraits of bewigged personages in dingy frames, 
and as many profile portraits in pastel hung on the walls, 
with a stained print or two, and a number of photographs of 
soldiers in uniform among them. A mahogany table with 
carved legs stood in the centre of the room, piled with 
books, and the chairs were a mixture of home-made split- 


bottomed ones and old-fasliioned, straight-backed arm- 

"Howcnrious these farmers are/* thought Euth ; but 
she did not have a great deal of time for reflection, for 
the next instant her hostess, who had been talking to her 
fatlier, was asking if she would not " take her things off " 
in so pleasant a voice, that before hat and coat were re- 
moved all constraint was gone and Euth found herself com- 
pletely at home. Then her hostess excused herself and 
went out for a moment. Euth took advantage of her ab- 
sence to whisper to her father, with genuine enthusiasm, 
" Isn't she pretty, father ? What are they H'^ 

"■ I don't know, but I suspect — " Just what it was 
that he suspected Euth did not learn, for at that moment 
their host stejjped in at the door, and laying his old worn 
liat on a table, made them another little speech, as if being 
under his roof required a new welcome. Major Welch 
began to apologize for running in on them so unceremo- 
niously, but the farmer assured him that an ajiology was 
quite unnecessary, and that they were always glad to wel- 
come travellers who came. 

" We are told to entertain strangers, you know ; for 
thereby, they say, some have entertained angels unawares, 
and though we cannot exactly say that we have ever done 
this yet," he added, with a twinkle in his eye, " we may 
be beginning it now — who knows?" He made Euth a 
bow with an old-fashioned graciousness which set her to 

"What a beautiful nose he has, finer even than my 
father's," she thought. 

Just then the young hostess returned, and the next 
moment an old negro woman in a white kerchief stood in 
the door dropping courtesies as though she were in a play. 
Euth was shown up a narrow little flight of stairs to a 
room so close under the sloping roof that it was only in 
the middle of it that she could stand upright. Every- 
thing, however, was sjiotlessly clean, and the white hang- 


ings, plain and simple as they were, and the little knick- 
knacks arranged about, made it dainty. The girl picked 
up one of the books idly. It was an old copy of " The 
Vicar of Wakefield." As she replaced the book, she ob- 
served that where it lay it covered a patch. 

At supper they were waited on by the old negro woman 
she had seen before, whom both their host and hostess 
called ''Mammy," and treated not so much as a servant, 
as if she were one of the family ; and though the china 
was old and cracked, and mostly of odd pieces, the young 
hostess presided with an ease which filled Ruth with aston- 
ishment. " Why, she could not do it better if she had 
lived in a city all her life, and she is not a bit embarrassed 
by us," she thought to herself. She observed that the 
only two pretty and sound cups were given to her and her 
father. The one she had was so dainty and unusual that 
she could not help looking at it closely, and was a little 
taken aback, on glancing up, to find her hostess's eyes rest- 
ing on her. The smile that came into them, however, reas- 
sured Ruth, and she ventured to say, half apologetically, 
that she was admiring the cup. 

"Yes, it is pretty, isn't it? "assented the other girl. 
'' It has quite a history ; you must get my father to tell 
it to you. There used to be a set of them." 

" It was a set which was presented to one of my ances- 
tors by Charles the Second," said the father thus appealed 
to, much as if he had said, " It is a set that Avas given mc 
yesterday by a neighbor." Ruth looked at him with 
wide-open eyes and a little uncomfortable feeling that lie 
should tell her such a falsehood. His face, however, wore 
the same calm look. " If you inspect closely, you can 
still make out the C. R. on it, though it is almost obliter- 
ated. My ancestor was with his father at Carisbrooke," 
he added, casually, and Ruth, glancing at her father, saw 
that it was true, and at the same moment took in also 
the fact that they had reached the place they had been look- 
ing for ; and that this farmer, as she had suj)posed him 


to be, was none other than Dr. Gary, and the young girl 
whom she had been patronizing, was Larry Middletou's 
Blair Gary, a lady like herself. How could she have 
made the mistake ! As she looked at her. host again, the 
thoughtful, self-contained face, the high-bred air, the 
slightly aquiline nose, the deep eyes, and the calm mouth 
and the jDointed beard made a perfect Vandyke portrait. 
Even the unstarched, loose collar and turned-back culfs 
added to the impression. Ruth seemed to have been sud- 
denly carried back over two hundred years to find herself 
in presence of an old patrician. She blushed with confu- 
sion over her stupidity, and devoutly hoj)ed within herself 
that no one had noticed her mistake. 

After supper. Major Welch and Dr. Gary, who had re- 
newed their old acquaintance, fell to talking of the war, 
and Ruth was astonished to find how differently their host 
looked at things from the way in which all the peojjle she 
had ever known regarded them. It was strange to the girl 
to hear her people referred to as 'Hhe Yankees" or " the 
enemy " ; and the other side, which she had always heard 
spoken of as "^^ rebels," mentioned with pride as "the 
Confederates" or '^our men." After a little, she heard 
her father ask about the man he had come South to see — 
Mr. Hiram Still. "Do you know him ?" he asked their 

" Oh, yes, sir, I know him. We all know him. He 
was overseer for one of my friends and connections, who 
was, perhaps, the wealthiest man in this section before the 
war, Mr. Gray, of Red Rock, the place where you spent 
the night you spoke of. Golonel Gray was killed at Shiloli, 
and his property all went to pay his debts afterward. He 
had some heavy indorsements, and it turned out that he 
owed a great deal of money to Still for negroes he had 
bought to stock a large plantation he had in one of the 
other States — at least, the overseer gave this explanation, 
and produced the bonds, which proved to be genu ne, 
though at first it was thought they must be forged. 


J suppose it was all right, tliongh some people thonght 
not, and it seems hard to have that fellow living in 
Gray's liouse/' 

'' But he bought it, did he not ? " asked Major Welch. 

'' Oh, yes, sir, he bought it — bought it at a forced sale," 
said Dr. Gary, slowly. " But I don't know — to see that fel- 
low living up there looks very strange. There are some 
things so opposed to the customary course of events that 
tlie mind refuses to accejit them." 

" Still lives somewhat lower down, I believe ? " said 
Major Welch. 

" No, sir, he is not very far off," said Dr. Gary. " lie 
is just across the river a few miles. Do you know him ? " 

" No, I do not. Not personally, tluit is. What sort of 
a man is he ? " 

** Well, sir, he does not stand very well," answered Dr. 
Gary, deliberately. 

" Ah ! Why, if I may ask ? " Major Welch was stiffen- 
ing a little. 

" Well, he went off to the radicals," said Dr. Gary, 
slowly, and Euth was amused at the look on her father's 

" But surely a man may be a republican and not be ut- 
terly bad?" said Major Welch. 

" Yes, I suppose so, elsewhere," admitted the other, 
doubtfully. " In fact, I have known one or two gentle- 
men who were — who thought it best to accept everything, 
and begin anew — I did myself at first. But I soon found 
it impossible. It does not prove efficacious down here. 
You see — But, pei'haps, you are one yourself, sir ?" very 

" I am," said Major Welch, and Ruth could see him 

" Ah ! " Their host leaned a little back. " Well, I beg 
your pardon. Perhaps, we will not discuss politics," he 
said, with great courtesy. " We should only disagree and 
— you are my guest." 


" But surely we can talk politics without becoming — 
all — We have been discussing the war ? " said Major 

" Ah, my dear sir, that is very different," said Dr. Gary. 
" May I ask, have you any official — ah — ? Do you expect 
to stay among us ? " 

'*^Do you mean, am I a carpetbagger?" asked Major 
Welch, with a smile. But the other was serious. 

"I would not insult you under my roof by asking you 
that question," he said, gravely. " I mean are you think- 
ing of settling among us as a gentleman ? " 

"Well, I can hardly say yet — but, perhaps, I am — 
thinking of it," said Major Welch. " At least, that is 
one reason why I asked you about that man. Still." 

" Oh, well, of course, if you ask as my guest, I will take 
pleasure in giving you any information you may wish." 

" Is he a gentleman ?" interrupted Major AVelch. 

" Oh, no — certainly not that, sir. He is hand in glove 
with the carpetbaggers, and the leader of the negroes 
about here. He and a carpetbagger named Leech, aud a 
negro preacher or exhorter named Sherwood, who, by the 
way, was one of my own negroes, and a negro named Ash, 
who belonged to my friend General Legale, and a sort of 
trick-doctor named Moses, whom I once saved from hang- 
ing, are the worst men in this section." 

Major Welch had listened in silence, and now he 
changed the subject ; for from the reference to Leech he 
began to think more and more that it was only prejudice 
which made these men objects of such narrow dislike. 

When Euth went up to bed she was in a sort of maze. 
The old negro woman whom she liad seen downstairs came 
up to wait on her, and Miss AVelch was soon enlightened as 
to several things. One was, that Dr. Gary's family was one 
of the greatest in the State — jierhaps, in the old woman's 
estimation, the greatest — except, of course, Mrs. Gary's, to 
which Mammy Krenda gave rather the pro -eminence as 
she herself had always belonged to that family and had 


nursed Mrs. Cary and Miss Blair, lier daughter. Ac- 
cording to her they had been very rich, but had lost every- 
thing, first by the war, and then, by the wickedness of 
someone, against whom the old woman was especially 
bitter. "He ain' nuttin' but a low-down nigger-trader, 
nohow," she declared, savagely. '' He done cheat ev'ybody 
out der home, he and dat Leech together, an' now dey 
think dey got ev'ything der own way, but dey'll see. 
Dey's dem as knows how to deal wid 'em. An' ef dee 
ever lay dee ban's pon me, dee'll fine out. We ain' gwine 
live in blacksmiff shop always. Dem's stirrin' what dee 
ain' know 'bout, an' some day dee'll heah 'em comin' 
for 'em to judgment." 

"Ken I help you do anything?" she asked, presently. 

"No, I thank you," said Ruth, stiffly. " Good-night." 

" Good-night," and she went. 

"Why, she don't likens as much as she does them!" 
said the girl to herself, filled with amazement at this revo- 
lution of all her ideas. ''Well, Larry's right. Miss Cary 
is charming," she reflected. 

As she dropped off to sleep she could hear the hum 
of voices below, where Dr. Gary and her father were 
keeping up their discussion of the war. And as she was 
still trying to make out what they were saying, the sun 
came streaming into her room through a broken shutter 
and woke her up. 



Ruth Welch on awaking, still, perhaps, had some lit- 
tle feeling about what she understood to be her hosts' atti- 
tude on the question of Northerners, but when on coming 
downstairs she was greeted on the veranda by her young 
hostess, who presented her with a handful of dewy roses, 
and looked as sweet as any one of them, or all of them put 
together, her resentment vanished, and, as she exj^ressed 
it to her mother afterward, she " went over to the enemy 
bag and baggage." As she looked out through the orchard 
and across over the fields, glowing after the last night's rain, 
there came to Ruth for the first time that tender feeling 
which comes to dwellers in the country, almost like a sweet 
odor, and compensates them for so much besides, and which 
has made so many a poet, whether he has written or not. 
Her hostess took her around the yard to show her her rose- 
bushes, particularly one which she said had come from one 
which had always been her mother's favorite at their old 

'' We have not always lived here ? " Her voice had a 
little interrogation in it as she looked at Ruth, much as if 
she had said, " You know ?" And just as if she had said 
it, Ruth answered, softly, " Yes, I know." 

" It was almost entirely destroyed once during the war 
when a regiment of cavalry camped in the yard," continued 
the young hostess, "and we thought it gone; but to our 
delight a little sprig put up next spring, and some day I 
hope this may be almost as good as the old one." She 
sighed, and her eyes rested on the horizon far away. 
19 289 


Ruth saw that the roses she had given her had come from 
that bush, and she would have liked to stretch out her arms 
and take her into a bond of hearty friendship. 

Just then Major Welch appeared, and a moment later, 
breakfast was announced. When they went into the little 
plain dining-room there were other roses in an old blue 
bowl on the table, and Ruth saw that they not only made the 
table sweet, but were arranged deftly to hide the cracks 
and chipped places in the bowl. She was wondering where 
Dr. Gary could be, when his daughter apologized for his 
absence, ex2)laining that lie had been called up in the night 
to go and see a sick woiuan, and then, in his name, in- 
vited them to remain as their guests as long as might be 
convenient to them. They "'might find it pleasanter than 
to stay at Mr. Still's ? " This hospitality the travellers could 
not accept, but Ruth appreciated it now, and she would 
have appreciated it yet more could she have known that lier 
young hostess, sitting before her so dainty and fresh, had 
cooked their breakfast that morning. When they left af- 
ter breakfast. Miss Gary came out to their vehicle, giving 
them full directions as to their road. Had her father been 
at home, she said, he would have taken pleasure in con- 
ducting them himself as far as the river. Uncle Tarquin 
would tell them about the ford. 

The horse was held by an old colored man, of a dark ma- 
hogany hue, with bushy gray hair, and short gray wliiskers. 
On the approach of the visitors he took off his hat and 
greeted them with an air as dignified as Dr. Gary's could 
have been. As he took leave of them, he miglit have been 
a host bidding his guests good-by, and he seconded his 
mistress's invitation to tliem to come again. 

When they drove off, Ruth somehow felt as if she were 
parting from an old friend. Iler little hostess's patched 
table-cover and darned dress, and cracked china liidden by 
the roses, all seemed to come before her, and Rutli glanced at 
her father with something very like tears in her eyes. They 
had been in her heart all the morning. Major Welch, how- 


ever, did not observe it. The fresh, balmy air filled his lungs 
like a draught of new life, and he felt an interest in the 
country about him, and a right to criticise it. It had been 
rich enough before the war, he said, and might be made so 
now if the people would but give up their prejudices and 
go to work. He added many other criticisms, abstractly 
wise and sensible enough. Kuth listened in silence. 

As the travellers drove along they passed a small house, 
just off the road, hardly more than a double cabin, but it 
was set back amid fruit-trees, sheltered by one great oak, 
and there was an air of quietude and peace about it which 
went to Euth's soul. A lady in black, with a white caj) on 
her gray hair, and a white kerchief on her shoulders, was 
sitting out on the little veranda, knitting, and Ruth was 
sure that as they drove by she bowed to them. 

The sense of peace was still on the girl when they came 
on a country store, at a fork in the road a mile Ijelow. 
There was a well, off to one side, and a small group of ne- 
groes stood around it, two or three of them with mus- 
kets in their hands, and one with a hare hung at his waist. 
Another, who stood with his back to the road and had 
a twisted stick in his hand, and an old army haversack 
over his shoulder, was, at the moment the wagon drew up, 
talking loudly and with vehement gesticulation ; and, as 
Major Welch stopped to ask a question, Ruth caught the 
end of what this man was saying : 

" I'm jest as good as any white man, and I'm goin' to 
show 'em so. I'm goin' to marry a white 'ooman and meek 
white folks wait on me. When I puts my mark agin a 
man he^s gone, whether he's a man or a 'ooman, and I'se 
done set it now in a gum-tree." 

His hearers were manifestly much impressed by him. 
An exclamation of approval went round among them. 

The little wagon stopping attracted attention, and the 
speaker turned, and then, quickly, as if to make amends 
for his loud speech, pulled off his hat and came toward the 
vehicle with a curious, cringing motion. 


" My master ; my mistis/' he said, bowing lower with 
each step until his knee almost touched the ground. He was 
a somewhat strongly built^ dark mulatto, perhaps a little 
past middle age and of medium height, and, as he came up to 
the vehicle, Euth thought she had never seen so grotesque a 
figure, and she took in by an instinct that this was the trick- 
doctor of whom Dr. Gary had S23oken. His chin stuck 
so far forward that the lower teeth were much outside of the 
upper, or, at least, the lower jaw was ; for the teeth looked 
as though they had been ground down, and his gums, 
as he grinned, showed as blue on the edges as if he had 
painted them. His nose was so short and the upper part 
of his face receded so much that the nostrils were un- 
usually wide, and gave an appearance of a black circle 
in his yellow countenance. His forehead was so low that 
he had evidently shaved a band across it, and the band ran 
around over the top of his flat head, leaving a tuft of coarse 
hair right in the middle, and on either side of it were cer- 
tain lines which looked as if they had been tattooed. Im- 
mediately under these were a pair of little furtive eyes 
which looked in quite different directions, and yet moved 
so quickly at times that it almost seemed as if tliey were 
both focussed on the same object. Large brass earrings 
were in his ears, and about his throat was a necklace of 
blue and white beads. 

Major Welch, having asked his question, drove on, the 
mulatto bowing low at each step as he backed away Avith 
that curious motion toward his companions by the well ; 
and Ruth, who had been sitting very close to her fa- 
ther, fascinated by the negro's gaze and strange appear- 
ance, could hardly wait to get out of hearing before she 
whispered : "Oh, father, did you ever see such a repulsive- 
looking creature in all your life ? " 

The Major admitted that he was an ugly fellow, and 
then, as a loud guffaw came to them from the rear, added, 
with that reasonable sense of justice which men possess 
and are pleased to call wisdom, that he seemed to be 


very civil and -was, no donbt, a harmless good-natured 

" I don't know," said Ruth, doubtfully. " I only hope 
I shall never set eyes on him again. I should die if I were 
to meet him alone." 

" Oh, nonsense ! " said her father, reassuringly. " They 
are the most good-natured, civil poor creatures in the 
world. I used to see them during the war." 

The Major was still contesting Dr. Gary's prejudices. 



It was yet early in the day, wlien the travellers drove np 
to Red Rock, and though there were certain things which 
showed that the place was not kept up as it had formerly 
been, it was far handsomer, and appeared to be more ex- 
tensively cultivated, than any plantation they had yet seen. 
A long line of barns and stables lay at some little distance 
behind the mansion, half screened by the hill, and off to 
one side stretched a large garden with shrubbery, appar- 
ently somewhat neglected, at the far end of which was a 
grove or great thicket of evergreens and other trees. 

A tall man with a slight stoop in his shoulders came 
down the broad steps, and advanced to meet them as they 
drove up. 

"Is this Colonel Welch ? " he asked. 

" Well, not exactly, but Major Welch,'' said that gentle- 
man, pleasantly, wondering how he could know him, "and 
you are— Mr. Still?" 

" Yes, sir, Fm the gentleman : Fm Mr. Still — Colonel 
Still, some of 'em calls me ; but I'm like yourself. Colonel, 
I don't care for titles. The madam, I suppose, sir ? " he 
smiled, as he lianded Ruth down. 

"No, my daughter. Miss Welch," said the Major, a little 
stiffly, to Ruth's amusement. 

" All ! I thought she was a leetle young for you. Colonel ; 
but sometimes we old fellows get a chance at a fresh covey 
and Ave most always try to pick a young bird. We're I'eal 
glad to see you, ma'am, and to have the honor of enter- 
tainin' so fine a young lady in our humble home. My son 
Wash, the Doctor, ain't at home this mornin', but he'll be 



back to-niglit, and lie'll knov,' how to make you have a good 
time. He's had advantages his daddy never had/* he ex- 

There was something almost pathetic. Major Welch 
thought, in this allusion to his son, and his recognition of 
his own failure to measure np to his standard. It made 
Major "Welch overlook his vulgarity and his attempt to be 
familiar. And the Major decided anew that Hiram Still 
was not half as black as he had been painted, and tliat the 
opposition to him which he had discovered was nothing 
but prejudice. 

As they entered the house, both Major Welch and Euth 
stopped on the threshold, with an exclamation. Before 
them stretched one of the most striking halls Ruth had 
ever seen. At the other end was an open door with a 
glimpse of green fields and blue hills in the distance ; but 
it was the hall itself that took Ruth's eye. And it was the 
picture of the man in the space just over the great fireplace 
that caught Major Welch. The " Indian-killer " again 
stood before him. Clad in his hunter's garb, with the dark 
rock behind him, his broken rifle at his feet, his cap on 
the back of his head, and his yellow hair pushed from 
under it, his eyes fastened on Major Welch with so calm 
and yet so intense a look that Major Welch was almost 
startled. That figure had suddenly obliterated the years. 
It brought back to him vividly the whole of his former visit. 

Ruth, impressed by the expression of her father's face, 
and intensely struck by the picture, pressed forv/ard to her 
father's side, almost holding her breath. 

" I see yon're like most folks, ma'am ; you're taken first 
thing with that picture," said Still ; then added, with a half 
laugh, " and it's the only picture in the batch I don't really 
like. But I jist mortally dislikes that, and I'd give it to 
anybody who'd take it down from thar, and save me harm- 

He went off into a half reverie. The Major was exam- 
ining the frame curiously. He put his finger on a dim. 


red srnear on tlie bottom of the frame. Memory was bring- 
ing back a long train of recollections. Hardly more than 
ten years before, he had stood on that same spot and done 
the same thing. This hall was thronged with a gay and 
happy and high bred company. He himself was an honored 
gnest. His gracious host was standing beside him, telling 
him the story. He remembered it all. Now — they were 
all gone. It was as if a flood had swept over them. 
These inanimate things alone had survived. He ran his 
hand along the frame. 

The voice of his host broke in on his reflections. 

" That thar red paint I see you lookin' at, got on the 
frame one day the picture fell down before the war. A 
nigger was paintin' the hairth right below it ; it waVt 
nailed then — and a gust of wind come up sudden and 
banged a door and the picture dropped right down in the 
paint. Mr. Gray, who used to own this place, was a settin' 
right by the winder where his secretary used to stand, and 
I had jest come back from the South the day befo' and wa's 
talkin' to Mr. Gray about it in the hall here that minute. 
' Well,' says I to him, ' if I was you, I'd be sort o' skeered 
to see that happen ' ; — because thar's a story about it, that 
whenever it comes down the old fellow in the graveyard 
gits up, and something's goin to happen to the man as lives 
here. ' No,' he says, ' Hiram (he always called me Hiram), 
I'm not superstitious ; but if anything should happen, I 
have confldence in you to know you'd still be faithful — a 
faithful friend to my wife and boys,' he says, in them very 
words. And I says to him, ' Mr. Gray, I promise you I 
will, faithful. And that's what I've done, Major, I've 
kept my word and yet, see how they treat me ! So after I 
got the place I nailed the picture in the wall — or ratlier 
just before that," he said in his former natural voice, " and 
it ain't been down since, an' it ain't comin' down neither." 

" But does that keep him from coming on his horse as 
they say ? Has he ever been seen since you nailed the 
frame to the wall ?" Ruth asked. 


" Well, ma'am, I can only tell yon that I ain't never 
seen him," said their host, with a faint, little smile. 
" Some says he's still ridin', and every time they hears a 
horse nicker at night aronnd here they say that's him ; but 
I can't say as I believes it." 

" Of course you cannot," said the Major, a little ab- 
ruptly, " for you know it isn't he ; you have too much 
sense. A good head and a good conscience never see ap- 
paritions." The Major was still thinking of the past. 

" How like he is to a picture I saw at Dr. Gary's, that 
they said was of a young Mr. Gray who still lives about 
here," said Ruth, recurring to the picture. She turned and 
was surprised to see what a change had come over her 
host's face. He suddenly changed the subject. 

" Well, I'm glad you've come down, Golonel. Only I'm 
sorry I didn't know just when you were coming. I'd have 
sent my carriage for you. I've been lookin' out for you, 
and I've got the prettiest place in the country for you," he 
said. He nodded over in the direction of the garden. " I 
want to take you to see it. It will just suit you. The 
house ain't big, but the land's as rich as low grounds. 

" And you're the very sort of a man we want here. Ma- 
jor. Your name will be worth a heap to us. Between 
ourselves, you can conjure with a Gover'ment title like a 
trick-doctor. Now, this fall, if you just go in with 
us — How would you like to go to the Legislature?" he 
asked, his voice lowered the least bit, and interrupting 
himself in a way he had. 

" Not at all," said Major Welch. " No politics for me. 
Why, I'm not eligible — even if I settle here. I suppose 
there are some requirements in the way of residence and 
so forth?" 

" Oh ! requirements ain't nothin'. We've got the Legis- 
lature, you see, and we — There's some several been elected 
ain't been here as long as you'll been when the election 
comes off." He glanced at Major Welch and interrupted 
himself again. " The fact is. Major," he explained, in a 


somewhat lower key^, " we've had to do some things a leetlo 
out of the regular run — to git the best men we could. But 
if we could get a gentleman like yourself " 

" No, I'm not in politics," said Major Welch, decisively. 
*' I've neither experience nor liking for it, and I've come for 
business purposes " 

'' Of course, you are quite right. Major, you're just like 
me ; but I didn't know what your opinion was. Well, 
you've come to the right place for business, Major," he 
said, in so changed a voice that he seemed to be two per- 
sons speaking. " It's the garden spot of the world — the 
money's jest layin' round to waste on the ground, if the 
folks jist had the sense to see it. All it wants is a little 
more capital. Colonel Leech and them's been talkin' about 
runnin' a railroad through this region. You know after 
all's said and done. Colonel, I ain't nothin^ but a plain 
farmer. I talks about railroads, but, fact is, I'd ruther see 
cotton and corn grow 'n the finest railroad's ever run. My 
son Wash, the Doctor, he's got education, and he's got city 
ways and wants a railroad, and I says to him, that's all 
right. Wash, you have yer railroad and enjoy it, but jist 
let yer old pappy set on his porch and see the crops grow. 
I've made ten thousand dollars a year clear money on this 
place, and that's good enough for me, I says. That may 
sound like foolishness to you. Major, but that's my raisin*, 
and a man can't git over his raisin'." 

This was a philosophic fact which the Major had often 
been struck with, and it appeared to him now that he had 
a most excellent example of it before him. 

As Major Welch was desirous to get settled as soon as pos- 
sible, he and Ruth rode over that afternoon to take a look 
at the place Still had spoken of. A detour of a mile or so 
brought them around to a small farm-house with peaked 
roof and dormer windows, amid big locust-trees, on top 
of a hill. Behind it, at a little distance, rose the line of 
timbered spurs that were visible through the hall-door at 
Red Rock, and in front a sudden bend brought the river 


ill view, with an old mill on its nearer bank, and the 
comb of water flashing over the dam. Ruth gave an ex- 
clamation of delight. She sketched rajiidly just what they 
could do with the place. Still observed her silently, and 
v.lien Major Welch inquired what price was asked for the 
place, told him that he could not exactly say that it was 
for sale. The Major looked so surprised at this, however, 
that he explained himself. 

''It is this way,'^ he said, "it is for sale and it ain't." 

" Well, that's a way I do not understand. Whose is 
it ? " said Major Welch, so stiffly that the other changed 
his tone. 

" Well, the fact is. Colonel, to be honest about it," he 
said, " this here place belongs to me ; but I was born on 
this here place, not exactly in this house, but on the j^lace, 
an' I always thought 't if anything was to happen — if my 
son Wash, the Doctor, was to git married or anything, and 
take a notion to set up at Eed Rock, I might come back 
here and live — you see ? " 

The Major was mollified. He had not given the man 
credit for so much sentiment. 

''Of course, if you really wants it — ?" began Still, but 
the Major said, no, he would not insist on one's making 
such a sacrifice ; that such a feeling did him credit. 

So the matter ended in Still's proposing to lease the place 
to the Major, which was accepted. Major Welch agreeing 
to the first price he named, only saying he supposed it was 
the customary figure, which Still assured him was the case. 
He pointed out to him that the land was unusually rich. 

" What's the name of the place ?" asked Ruth. 

" Well, 'tain't got any special name. We call it Stam- 
per's," Still said. 

" Stamper — Stamper ? " repeated the Major. " Where 
have I heard that name ? " 

"You might 'a heard of him in connection with the 
riot 't took place near here a few years ago, when a dozen 
or so soldiers was murdered. 'Twas up here they hatched 


the plot and from here they started. They moved away 
from here, and I bought it." 

It was not in this connection that the Major recalled 
the name. 

" What was ever done about it ? " he asked. 

'' Nothin'. What could you do ? " demanded Still, trag- 
ically. ■ 

" Why arrest them and hang them, or send them to 

Still gave an ejaculation. 

" You don^t know 'em, Major ! But we are gittin' 'em 
straight now," he added. 

On their return to Red Rock they found that Still's son, 
the Doctor, had arrived. He was a tall, dark, and, at a 
distance, a rather handsome young man ; but on nearer 
view this impression vanished. His eyes were small and 
too close together, like his father's, but instead of the 
good-humored expression which these sometimes had, his 
had a suspicious and ill-contented look. He dressed show- 
ily and evidently took great pride in his personal apj)ear- 
ance. He had some education and was fond of making quo- 
tations, especially in his father's presence, toward whom 
his attitude was one of censoriousness and ill-humor. 

His manner to the Major was always polite, and to Ruth 
it was especially so ; but to the servants it was arrogant, 
and to his father it was little short of contemptuous. The 
Major heard him that evening berating someone in so 
angry a tone that he thought it was a dog he was scolding, 
until he heard Hiram Still's voice in mild expostulation ; 
and again at the table that evening Dr. Still spoke to his 
father so sharply for some little breach of table etiquette 
that the Major's blood boiled. The meekness with which 
the father took his son's rebuke did more to secure for him 
the Major's friendship than anything else that occurred 
during their stay with him. 



As Major Welch was anxious to be independent^, he de- 
clined Still's invitation to stay with him, and within a 
week he and Ruth were "camping ouf at the Stamper 
place, which he had rented, preparing it for the arrival of 
Mrs. Welch and their furniture. 

As it happened, no one had called on the Welches while 
they remained at StilFs ; but they were no sooner in their 
own house than all the neighbors round began to come to 
see them. 

Ruth found herself treated as if she were an old friend, 
and feeling as if she had known these visitors all her life. 
One came in an old wagon and brought two or three chairs, 
which were left until Ruth's should come ; another sent 
over a mahogany table ; a third came with a quarter of 
lamb ; all accomjDanied by some message of ajDology or 
friendliness which made the kindness appear rather done 
to the senders than by them. 

In the contribution which the Carys brought, Ruth 
found the two old cups she had admired. She packed 
them up and returned them to Blair with the sweetest note 
she knew how to write. 

As soon as he was settled. Major Welch went to the 
Court-house to examine the records. He had intended to 
go alone and had made arrangements, the afternoon be- 
fore, with a negro near by to furnish him a horse next day ; 
that evening, however, Still, who appeared to know every- 


302 KED nocK 

thing that was going on, rode over and asked if He could 
not take him down in his buggy. He had to go there on 
some business, he explained, and Colonel Leech would be 
there and had told him he wanted to see the Major and 
talk over some matters, and wanted him to be there too. 

The Major would have preferred to go first without Still. 
However, there was nothing else to do but to accept 
the offer he made of his company ; and the next morning 
Still drove over, and they set out together, Ruth saying 
that she had plenty to occupy her until her father^s return. 

Tliey had not been gone very long and Ruth was busy- 
ing herself, out in the yard, trimming the old rose-bushes 
into some sort of shape, when she heard a step, and looking 
up saw coming across the grass, the small man tliey had 
met in the road, who had told them the way to Dr. Gary's. 

He wasn't " so very busy just then," he said, and had 
come to see if they " mightn't like to have a little hauling 
done when their furniture came." 

Ruth thought that her father had arranged with Mr. 
Still to have it done. 

" I ain't particularly busy jest now, and I'd take feed 
along — I jest thought I'd like to be neighborly," repeated 
the man. "Hiram, I s'pect, he's chargin' you some'n ?" 

Ruth supposed so. 

" Well, if he ain't directly, he will some way. The best 
way to pay Hiram is to pay him right down." 

He asked Ruth if she would mind his going in and look- 
ing at the house, and, when she assented, he walked 
around silently, looking at the two rooms which she 
showed him : their sitting-room and her father's room ; then 
asked if he could not look into the other room also. This 
was Ruth's chamber, and for a second she hesitated to 
gratify curiosity carried so far ; but reflecting that he was a 
plain countryman, and might possibly misunderstand her 
refusal and be wounded, she nodded her assent, and stepped 
forward to open the door. He opened it himself, however, 
and walked in, stopping on tip-toe. He stopped in the 


middle of the room and looked about liim, his gaze resting 
presently on a nail driven into a strijj in the wall just be- 
side the bed. 

''I was born in this here room/' he said, as much to 
himself as to her ; then, after a pause : " right in that thar 
cornder — and my father was born in it before me and his 
father befo' him, and to think that Hiram owns it ! Hi- 
ram Still ! Well — well — things do turn out strange — 
don't they ? Thar's the very nail my father used to hang 
his big silver watch on. I b'lieve I'd give Hiram a hoss 
for that nail, ef I knowed where I could get another one 
to plough my crop." He walked up and put his hand on 
the nail, feeling it softly. Then walked out. 

" Thankee, miss. Will you tell yo' pa. Sergeant 
Stamper'd be glad to do what he could for him, and ef he 
wants him jist to let him know?" He had gone but a 
few steps, when he turned back : " And will you tell him 
I say he's got to watch out for Hiram ? " 

The next moment he was gone, leaving Euth with a 
sinking feeling about her heart. What could he mean ? 

She had not long to think of it, however, for jnst then 
she heard the sound of wheels grinding along outside, and 
she looked out of the door just as a rickety little wagon 
drew up to the door. She recognized the driver as Miss 
Gary and walked out to meet her. Beside Blair in the 
wagon sat, wrapped np in shawls, though the day was warm, 
an elderly lady with a faded face, but with very pleas- 
ant eyes, looking down at Euth from under a brown veil. 
Euth at first supposed that she was Blair's mother, but 
Blair introduced her as " Cousin Thomasia." As they 
helped the lady out of the vehicle, Euth was amused at the 
preparation she made. Every step she took she gave some 
explanation or exclamation, talking to herself, it apjieared, 
rather than to either of the girls. 

" My dear Blair, for heaven's sake don't let his head go. 
Take care, my dear, don't let this drop." (This to Euth, 
about a package wrapped in paper.) 


AVlieu at length she was down on the ground, she asked 
Blair if her bonnet was on straight : " Because, my dear " 
— and Kuth could not for her life tell to whom she was 
speaking — ''nothing characterizes a woman more than her 

Then having been assured that this mark of character 
was all right, she turned to Kuth, and said, with the great- 
est graciousness : 

" How do you do, my dear? You must allow me to kiss 
you. I am Cousin Thomasia." 

Euth's surprised look as she greeted her, perhajos, made 
her add, ''I am everybody's Cousin Thomasia." 

It was indeed as she said, she was ever3'body's Cousin 
Thomasia, and before she had been in the house ten min- 
utes, Euth felt as if she were, at least, hers. She accepted 
the arm-chair offered her, with the graciousness of a queen, 
and spread but her faded skirts with an air which Euth 
noted and forthwith determined to copy. Then she jn-o- 
duced her knitting, and began to knit so quietly that it 
was almost as if the yarn and needles had appeared at her 
bidding. The next instant she began a search for some- 
thing — began it casually, so casually that she knit between- 
times, but the search quickened and the knitting ceased. 

''Blair? V 

" You brought them with you. Cousin Thomasia." 

" No, my dear, I left them, I'm sure I left them " 

(searching all the time) ''right on — Where can they be?" 

" I saw you have them in the wagon." 

" Then I've dropped them — Oh, dear ! dear ! What 
shall I do?" 

"What is it?" asked Euth. 

" My eyes, my dear — and I cannot read a word without 
them. Blair, we must go right back and hunt for them." 

But Blair was up and searching, not on the floor or in 
the road ; but in the folds of Miss Thomasia's dress ; in the 
wrappings of the little parcel which she still held in her lap. 

**Here they are. Cousin Thomasia," she exclaimed. 


trinmphantly drawing tliem out of the paper. " Eight 
where you put them/' 

Miss Thomasia gave a laugh as fresh as a girl's. 

" Why, so I did ! How stupid of me ! " She seated 
herself again, adjusted her glasses and began to unwrap 
her parcel. 

" Here, my dear, is a little cutting I have fetched you 
from a rose which my dear mother brought from Kenil- 
worth Castle, when she accompanied my dear father to 
England. I was afraid you might not have any flowers 
now, and nothing is such a panacea for loneliness as the 
care of a rose-bush. I can speak from experience. The 
old one used to grow just over my window at my old 
home and I took a cutting with me when we went away 
— General Legale obtained the privilege of doing so — 
and you have no idea how much company it has been to 
me. I will show you how to set it out." 

The glasses were on now, and she was examining the 
sprig of green in the little pot with profound interest, 
while her needles flew. 

'MVhere was your old home?" Euth asked, softly. 

"Here, my dear — not this jslace, but all around you. 
This was Mrs. Stamper's — one of our poor neighbors. 
But we lived at Eed Eock." 

" Oh ! " said Euth, shocked at having asked the question. 

" No matter, my dear," the old lady went on. " Since we 
moved we have lived at a little place right on the road. 
You must come over and let me show you my roses there. 
But I don't think they will ever be equal to the old ones — 
or what the old ones were, for I hear they are nearly all 
gone now — I have never been back since I left. I do not 
think I could stand seeing that — person in possession of 
my father's and my brother's estate." She sighed for the 
first time, and for the first time the needles, as she leant 
back, stopped. 

" I wrapped up my glasses to keep from seeing it as we 
drove up the hill. I wish they might let me lie there 


when I die, but I know they will not." Her gaze was out 
of the oj^en door. In the silence which followed her words 
the sound of a horse's hoofs was heard. 

" There is someone outside, my dear/' she said, placidly. 
Both Ruth and Blair looked out. 

" Why, it is the General," said Blair, and Euth won- 
dered who the General was, and wondered yet more to detect 
something very much like a flutter in Miss Thomasia's 
manner. Her hand went to her bonnet ; to her throat ; she 
smoothed her already smooth skirts, and glanced around — 
ending in a little appealing look to Blair. It was almost as 
if a white dove, represented in some sacred mystery, had 
suddenly lost tranquillity. When, however, the new visitor 
reached the door. Miss Thomasia was quietude itself. 

He stepped up to the door and gave a tap with the butt 
of his riding-switch before he was aware of the presence of 
the three ladies ; then he took off his hat. 

"Ladies," he said, with quite a grand bow. At the 
same moment, both of the ladies who knew him, spoke, 
but Ruth heard only Miss Thomasia's words : 

'^ My dear, this is General Legale, of whom you have 
often heard, our old and valued friend." Ruth had never 
heard of him, but she was struck by him. He was r>ot 
over five feet three inches high : not as tall by several inches 
as Rutli herself ; but his head, with curling white hair, 
was so set on his shoulders, his form was so straight and 
vigorous, and his countenance, with its blue eyes and fine 
mouth, so handsome and self-contained, that Ruth thought 
she had mever seen a more martial figure. She thought 
instinctively of a portrait she had once seen of a French 
Marshal ; and when the General made his sweeping bow 
and addressed her with his placid voice in old-fashioned 
phrase as, " Madam," the illusion was complete. Why, he 
was absolutely stately. Then he addressed Miss Thomasia 
and Blair, making each of them a bow and a compliment 
with such an old-fashioned courtesy that Ruth felt as if 
she were reading a novel. 


He had hoped to call and pay his respects before, he 
told Euth, when he had finished his greetings ; but had 
been nnavoiJably delayed, and it was a cause of sincere re- 
gret that he should be so unfortunate as to miss her father. 
He had learned of his absence several miles below, but he 
would not delay longer paying his devoirs to her ; so had 
come on. ''And you seethe triple reward I receive," he 
said, with a glance which included all three ladies, and a 
little laugh of pleasantry over himself. 

" See what an adept he is," said Blair : " he compli- 
ments us all in one breath." 

The General looked at Miss Thomasia as if he were go- 
ing to speak directly to her, but she was picking up a 
stitch, so he shifted his glance to Blair, and, catching her 
eye, laughed heartily. 

'' Well ? Why didn't you say it ? " 

Miss Thomasia knitted placidly. 

He shrugged his shoulders, laughed again, and changed 
his bantering tone. 

''Have you seen Jacquelin?" asked Miss Thomasia, 
who had calmly ignored the preceding conversation. 

"Yes, he's all right — he came back yesterday and has 
gone in with Steve Allen. They'll get along. He's just 
the sort of man Steve needed ; he'll be his heavy artillery. 
He is looking into the matter of the bonds," 

Miss Thomasia sighed. 

"Two young gentlemen of the County who are great 
friends of ours. Miss Welch," explained the General. 

Meanwhile, Major Welch and Mr. Still had reached the 
county seat. During their ride. Still had given Major 
Welch an account of affairs in the County, and of most of 
those with whom he would come in contact. Steve Allen 
he described as a terrible character. It had been a dread- 
ful struggle that he himself and other Union men had had 
to wage, he said. Leech was the leading Northern man in 
the County, and was going to be Governor. But he was 


disposed to cantion Major Welch f?omewliat against even 
him. Leech did not exactly understand things ; he did not 
rely enough on his white friends. He would have turned 
out all the white officials and filled their places with 
negroes. But Still had insisted on keeping, at least, Mr, 
Dockett, the Clerk, in ; because he had charge of all tho 
records. But Mr. Dockett had not acted exactly right, he 
said, and he was afraid at the next election " they'd have 
to let him go." He had been '' getting mighty unreason- 
able." Some peojile wanted his son. Wash, the Doctor, to 
run, but he " didn't know about it ?" he said, with an in- 
terrogation in his voice. 

Major Welch had supposed that the Doctor would find 
his profession more profitable, or at least that it would 
take up all his time if he j)roposed to follow it ; but Still 
exj)lained that there was not a great deal of practice, and 
that the clerk's place was a "paying office." 

When they arrived at Leech's house Major Welch found 
it a big, modern affair with a mansard roof, set in the mid- 
dle of a treeless lot. To Major Welch's surprise. Leech 
was not at home. Still appeared much disconcerted. 

As they crossed the yard, the Major observed a sign over 
a door : '* Allek and Gray. Law Office." 

" If necessary we could secure their services," he said, 
indicating the sign. 

Still drew up to his side, and lowered his voice, looking 
around : They were the lawyers he had told him of, he 
said. That was " that fellow Allen, the leader in all the 
trouble that went on." 

" Who's Gray ? " The Major was still scanning the sign. 

Still gave a curious little laugh. 

'* He's the one as used to own my place — Mr. Gray's 
son. He's a bad one, too. He's just come back and set 
up as a lawyer. Fact is, I believe he's set up as one, more 
to devil me than anything else." 

Major Welch said, dryly, that he did not see why his set- 
ting up as a lawyer should bedevil him. Still hesitated. 


" Well, if he thinks he could scare me " 

"I don't see how he could scare you. I would not let 
him scare me," said Major Welch, dryly. 

" You don't know 'em. Colonel," said Still. " You don't 
know what we Union men have had to go through. They 
won't let us buy land, and they won't let us sell it. They 
hate you because you come from the North, and they hate 
me because I don' hate you. I tell you all the truth. 
Colonel, and you don't believe it — but you don't know what 
we go through down here. We've got to stand together. 
You'll see." The man's voice was so earnest, and his face so 
sincere that Major Welch could not help being impressed. 

*' Well, I'll show him and everyone else pretty quickly 
that that is not the way to come at me," said Major Welch, 
gravely. " When I get ready to buy, I'll buy where I please, 
and irrespective of anyone else's views except the seller's." 
And he walked up to the door, without seeing the look on 
Still's face. 

The only occupants of the clerk's office were two men ; one 
was an old man, evidently the clerk, with a bushy beard and 
keen eyes gleaming through a pair of silver spectacles. The 
other was a young man and a very handsome one, with a 
broad brow, a strongly chiselled chin, and a very grave and 
somewhat melancholy face. He was seated in a chair di- 
rectly facing the door, examining a bundle of old chancery 
papers which were spread out on his knee and on a chair be- 
side him, and as the visitors entered the door he glanced up. 
Major Welch was struck by his fine eyes, and the changed 
look that suddenly came into them. Still gave his arm a 
convulsive clutch, and Major Welch knew by instinct that 
this was the man of whom Still had just spoken. 

If Jacquelin Gray was really the sort of man Still had 
described him to be, and held the opinions Still had attrib- 
uted to him, he played the hypocrite very well, for he not 
only bowed to Major Welch very civilly, if distantly, but to 
do so even rose from his seat at some little inconvenience 
to himself, as he had to gather up the papers spread on his 


knee. It is trne that he took not the least notice of Still, 
who included him as well as the clerk in his greeting, the 
only evidence he gave of being aware of the presence of 
his former manager, being contained in a certain quiver of 
the nostrils, as Still passed him. 

Major Welcli was introduced by Still to the clerk, and 
stated his errand, wondering at the change in his compan- 
ion's voice. 

" He's afraid of that young man," he thought to himself, 
and he stiffened a little as the idea occurred to him ; and 
at the first opportunity he glanced again at Jacqnelin, who 
was once more busy with his bundle of papers, in which 
he appeared completely absorbed. Still was following the 
clerk, who, with his spectacles on the tip of his long nose, 
was looking into the files of his deed-books ; but Major 
Welch saw that Still was not attending to him ; his eyes 
were turned and were fastened on the young lawyer, 
quite on the other side of the room. As the Major looked 
he was astonished to see Still start and put out his hand 
as though to support himself. Following Still's gaze he 
glanced across at Jacquelin. He had taken several long, 
narrow slips of paper out of the bundle, and was at the in- 
stant examining them curiously, oblivious of everything 
else. Major Welch looked back at Still, and he was as 
white as a ghost. Before he could take it in. Still muttered 
something and turned to the door. As he walked out he 
tottered so that Major Welch, thinking he was ill, folloAved 

Outside, the air revived Still somewhat, and a drink of 
whiskey which he got at the tavern bar, and told the bar- 
keeper to make "stiff," set him up a good deal. He had 
been feeling badly for some time, he said ; thought he 
was a little bilious. 

Just as they came out of the bar, they saw young Gray 
cross the court-green and go over to his office. 

They returned to the clerk's office, and Major Welch 
■was soon running through the deeds, while Still, after look- 


ing over his shoulder for a moment or two, took a seat 
near Mr. Dockett and began to talk to him. He appeared 
much interested in the old fellow, his family, and all that 
belonged to him, and Major Welch was a little amused at 
the old man's short replies. 

His attention was attracted by Still's saying casually that 
he'd like to see the papers in that old suit of his against 
the Gray estate, if he could lay his hands on them, and 
the clerk's dry answer that he could lay his hands on any 
paper in the office, and that the pajjers in question were 
in the '^ended-causes" case. "Mr. Jacquelin Gray was 
just looking over them as you came in/^ he said, as he rose 
to get them. 

" Well, let him look," Still growled, with a sudden 
change of tone. "He can look all he wants, and he 
won't git around them bonds." 

" Oh, no ! I don't say as he will," the old officer an- 

" I'd like to take ^em home with me — " Still began ; but 
the clerk cut him short. 

" I can't let you do that. You'll have to look at 'em 
here in the office." 

" Why, they're nothin' but — I want Colonel Welch here 
to look at 'em — they'll show him how the lands come to 
nie — I'll bring 'em back " 

" I can't let you take 'em out of the office." His tone 
was as dry as ever. 

"'^ Well, I'd like to know why not ? They don't con- 
cern nobody but me, and they're all ended." 

" That's the very reason you can't take 'em out ; they're 
part of the records of this office " 

''Well, lean take the bonds out, anyway," Still per- 
sisted ; "they is mine, anyhow." 

"No, you can't take them, either." 

Still did not often lose his temper, or show it, if he 
did ; but this time he lost it. 

" Well, I'll show you if I can't, before the year is out. 


Mr. Dockett. I'll show you who I am ! " He rose with 
much feeling. 

"1 know who you are." The old fellow turned and 
shot a piercing glance at him over his spectacles, and 
Major Welch watched complacently to see how it would 

" Well, if you don't, I mean to make you know it. I'll 
show you you don't own this County. I'll show you who 
is the bigger man, you or the people of this County. You 
think because you been left in this office that you own it ; 
but I'll " 

"No, I don't," the old man said, firmly; ''I know 
you've got negroes enough to turn me out if you choose ; 
but I want to tell you that until you do I'm in charge 
here, and I run the office according to what I think is my 
duty, and the only way to change it is to turn me out. Do 
you want to see the papers or not ? You can look at 'em 
here just as everybody else does." 

" That's right," said Major Welch, meaning to explain 
that it was the law. Still took it in a different sense, 
however, and quieted down. He would look at them, he 
said, sulkily, and, taking the bundle, he picked out the 
same slips which young Gray had been examining. 

*' You're so particular about your old papers," he said, 
as he held up one of the slips, " I wonder you don't keep 
'em a little better. You got a whole lot o' red ink 
smeared on this bond." 

" I didn't get it on it." The clerk got up and walked 
across the room to look at the paper indicated, adjusting 
his spectacles as he did so. One glance sufficed for him. 

" That ain't ink, and if 'tis, it didn't get on it in this 
office. That stain was on that bond when Leech filed it. 
I remember it particularly." 

*' I don't know anything about that — I know it wa'n't 
on it when I give it to him, and I don't remember of ever 
having seen it before," Still persisted. 

** Well, I remember it well — I remember speaking of it 


to him, because we thought 'twas finger-marks, and he said 
'twas on it when you gave it to him." 

"Well, I know 'twant," Still repeated, hotly. "If 
'twas on thar when he brought it here he got 't on it him- 
self, and I'll take my oath to it. Well, that don't make 
any difference in the bond, I s'pose ? It's just as good with 
that on it as if 'twant ? " 

" Oh, yes ; that's so," said Mr. Dockett. " If it's all 
right every other way, that won't hurt it." 

Still looked at him sharply. 

As they drove home. Still, after a long period of silence, 
suddenly asked Major Welch, within what time after a case 
was ended a man could bring a suit to upset it. 

" Well, I don't know what the statutes of this State are, 
but he can generally bring it without limit, on the ground 
of fraud," said the Major, "unless he is estopj^ed by 

" What's that ? " asked Still, somewhat huskily, and the 
Major started to explain ; but Still was taken with another 
of his ill turns. 

That same afternoon, a little before Major Welch's re- 
turn, Ruth was walking about the yard, looking, every 
now and then, across the hill, in the direction of Red Rock, 
from which her father should soon be coming, when, as 
she passed near a cherry-tree, she observed that some of 
the fruit was already ripe. One or two branches were not 
very high. She had been feeling a little lonel}^, and it 
occurred to her that it would be great fun to climb the 
tree. She had once been a good climber, and she remem- 
bered the scoldings she had received for it from her 
mother, who regarded it as " essentially frivolous," and 
had once, as a punishment, set her to learn all the names 
of all the branches of a tree which hung on the nursery 
wall, and rei^resented, allegorically, all the virtues and 
vices, together with a perfect network of subsidiary quali- 
ties. She could remember many of them now — " Faith, 
Hope, Temperance," and so on. 


" Dear mamma/* slie tlionght, witli a pang of homesick- 
ness, "I wish she were here now." This reflection only 
made her more lonely, and to overcome the feeling she 
turned to the more material and attractive tree. 

'' I conld climb that tree easily enough, '' she said, ^' and 
there's no one to know anything about it. Even mamma 
would not mind that much. Besides, I could see papa 
from a greater distance and I'll get him some cherries for 
his tea." 

These last two considerations were sufficient to counter- 
balance the idea of maternal disapproval. So Ruth turned 
up the skirt of her dress, pinned it so that it would not 
be stained, and five minutes later was scrambling up the 
tree. Higher and higher she went up, feeling the old 
exhilaration of childhood as she climbed. What a fine 
view there was from her perch ! the rolling hills, the green 
low-grounds, the winding river, the blue mountains be- 
hind and, away to the eastward, the level of the tide-water 
country almost as blue at the horizon as the mountains 
to the westward. IIow still it was too ! Every sound 
was distinct : the lowing of a cow far away toward Red 
Rock, the notes of a thrush in a thicket, and the chirp 
of a sparrow in an old tree. Ruth wished she could have 
described it as she saw it, or, rather, as she felt it, for it 
was more feeling than seeing, she thought. But the best 
cherries were out toward the ends of the limbs, so she se- 
cured a safe position and set to work, gathering them. She 
was so engrossed in this occupation that she forgot every- 
thing else until she heard the trampling of a horse's feet 
somewhere. It was quite in a different direction from 
that in which she expected her father, but supposing that 
it was he, Ruth gave a little yodel, with which she often 
greeted him when at a distance, and climbed out on a 
limb that she might look down and see him. How aston- 
ished and amused he would be, she thought. Yes, there 
he was, coming around the slope just below her, but how 
was he going to get across the ditch ? If only that bough 


were not in the way ! Ah ! now she had the bongli and 
could ]5iill it aside. Heavens ! it was a stranger, and he 
was near enough for her to see that he was a young man. 
What should she do ? Suppose he should have heard her ! 
At the moment she looked he was putting his horse at the 
ditch — a splendid jump it was. She let the bough go and 
edged in toward the body of the tree, listening and half 
seeing the rider below through the leaves as he galloj)ed 
up into the yard. Perhaps he had not seen her ? She 
crouched down. It was a vain hope, for the next instant 
he turned his horse's head toward the tree and drew him 
in almost under her. 

"I say — Is anyone at home?" he asked. The voice 
was a very deep and pleasant one. Although Euth was 
sure he was sj^eaking to her, she did not answer. 

''I say, little girl, are Colonel Welch and his daughter 
at home ? " 

This time he looked up. So Ruth answered. No, they 
were not at home. Her voice sounded curiously quavering. 

" Ah ! I'm very sorry. When will they be at home ? 
Can you tell me ? " 

" Ah ! ur — not exactly," quavered Ruth, crouching still 
closer to the tree-trunk and gathering in her skirts. 

" You have some fine cherries up there ! " 

Oh, heavens ! why didn't he go away ! 

To this she made no answer, hoping he would go. He 
caught hold of a bough, she thought, to pull some cherries ; 
wrapped his reins around it, and the next moment stood 
up in his saddle, seized a limb above him and swung him- 
self up. In her astonishment Ruth almost stopped breath- 

" I believe I'll try a few — for old times' sake," he said 
to himself, or to her, she could not tell which, and swung 
himself higher. " I don't suppose Colonel Welch would 

The next swing brought him up to the limb immediately 
below Ruth, and he turned and looked up at her where she 


sat in the fork of the limb. Her face had been burning ever 
since she had been discovered, and was burning now ; but 
she could not help being amused at the expression which 
came into the stranger's eyes as he looked at her. Aston- 
ishment, chagrin, and amusement were all stamped there, 
mingled together. 

"What on earth ! — I beg your pardon — " he began, his 
eyes wide open with surprise, gazing straight into hers. 
The next instant he burst out laughing, a j)eal so full of 
real mirth that Euth joined in and laughed with all her 
might too. 
. " I'm Captain Allen, Steve Allen — and you arc ? " 

*' Miss Welch — when I'm at home." 

He pulled himself up to the limb on which Ruth sat and 
coolly seated himself near her. 

" I hope you will be at home — Miss Welch ; for I am. 
I used to be very much at home in this tree in old times, 
which is my excuse for being here now, though I confess 
f never found quite such fruit on it as it seems to bear 

The twinkle in his gray eyes and a something in his 
lazy voice reminded Ruth of Rcely Thurston. The last 
part of his speech to her sounded partly as if he meant it, 
but partly as if he were half poking fun at her and wished 
to see how she would take it. She tried to meet him on 
his own ground. 

*' If you had not made yourself somewhat at home you 
would not have found it now." She was very demure. 

Steve lifted his eyes to her quickly, and she was rather 
nettled to see that he looked much amused at her speech, 

*' Exactly. You would not have had me act otherwise, 
I hope ? We always wish our guests to make themselves 
at home. You Yankees don't want to be behind us." 

She saw his eyes twinkle, and felt that he had said it to 
draw her fire, but she could not forbear firing back. 

*' No, but sometimes it doe's not seem necessary, as you 
Rebels appear inclined to make yourselves at home— some- 


times even without an invitation." Her chin went up a 

Steve burst out laughing. 

" A good square shot. I surrender. Miss Welch." 

'^ What ! so easily ? I thought you Rebels were better 
fighters ? I have heard so." 

Steve only laughed. 

" ' He that fights and runs away/ you know. I can't 
run, so I surrender. May I get you some cherries ? The 
best are out on the end of the limbs, and I am afraid you 
might fall." His voice had lost the tone of badinage and 
was full of deference and in-otection. 

Ruth said she believed that she had all the cherries she 
wanted. She had, perhaps, a dozen — , She was wondering 
how she should get down, and was in a panic lest her fatlier 
should appear and find her up in the tree with this strange 
young man. 

In reply to her refusal, however, Steve looked at her 

" You want to get down." This in assertion rather 
than in question. 

" Yes." Defiantly. 

*' And yon can't get down unless I let you ? " 

" N — n — " She caught herself quickly, " I thought you 
had surrendered ? " 

" Can't a prisoner capture his captor ? " 

" Not if he has given his parole and is a gentleman.'" 

Steve whistled softly. His eyes never left her face. 

'* Will you invite me in 'i " 

" No." 

<^ Why ? " 

■' Because " 

*'I see." Steve nodded. 

*' Because my father is not at home.** 

** Oh I All the more reason for your having a pro- 

^* No. And I will make no terms with a prisoner." 


With a laugh Steve let himself down to the limb below. 
Then he stopped and turning looked up at her. 

*' May I help you down ? " The tone was almost hum- 

" No, I thank you, I can get down.*' Very firmly. 

*' I must order your father to remain at home," he 

" My father is not one to take orders ; he gives them," 
she said, proudly. 

Captain Allen looked up at her, the expression of admi- 
ration in his eyes deejaened. ** I think it likely," he said 
with a nod. "Well, I don't always take them so meekly 
myself. Good-by. Do you require your prisoner to re- 
port at all ? " He held out his hand. 

" Good-by— I— don't know : No." 

He smiled up at her. " You don't know all your privi- 
leges. Good-by. I always heard you Yankees were cruel 
to prisoners." 

It was said in such a way that Ruth did not mind it, and 
did not even wish to fire back. The next minute Steve was 
on liis horse, cantering away without lookhig back, and 
curiously, Ruth, still seated on her leafy perch, was con- 
scious of a feeling of blankness. 

" I hate that man," she said to herself, *' he has been 
doing nothing but make fun of me. But he is amusing — 
and awfully handsome. And what a splendid rider ! I 
wonder if he will have the audacity to come back ? " 

As she reached the ground she saw her father far across 
the field, coming up the same road along which her visitor 
was going away. When the two men met they stopped and 
had a little talk, during which Ruth watched with curiosity 
to see if Captain Allen would return. He did not, how- 
ever. It was only a moment and then he cantered on, 
leaving Ruth with a half disappointed feeling, and wonder- 
ing if he had told her father of their meeting. 

When Major Welch arrived, Ruth waited with some im- 
patience to discover if be had been told. He mentioned 


that he had met Mr. Allen and thought him a striking- 
looking and rather nice fellow ; had invited him to re- 
turn, but he said he could not, that he had seen her, and 
would call again. 

" He is a gentlemanly fellow, but is said to be one of the 
most uncontrolled men about here, the leader in all the 
lawlessness that goes on." 

Ruth thought of what the old mammy at Dr. Gary's had 
told her. She wished to change the subject. 

'' Did he say where we met ? " she asked, laughing and 

" No, only said he had met you." 

*' He caught me up in a cherry-tree." 

*' What ! Well, he's a nice fellow," said her father, and 
Euth had begun to think so too. 



The next day, Still called to see Major Welch and made 
him a i)roposition to sell him a part of the Red Rock 
place. On thinking it over, he said, he believed he'd 
rather have the Major as a near neighbor than to have him 
farther off, and he also believed that the Major would find 
it safer to buy from him a place he had got under decree 
of court, and had already held quietly for some time, than 
to buy a place about which there might be a question and 
where he'd be sure to incur the enmity of the old owners. 

This reason, to judge from Major Welch's expression, 
did not make much impression on him. He did not wish 
to incur anyone's enmity, he said. But if he bought hon- 
estly, and became the lawful owner of a place, he should 
not mind what others thought. 

Still shook his head. Major Welch did not know these 
people, he said. "And to be honest with you. Major, I 
feel as if having you right here by me was a sort ofprotec- 
tion. They daresn't touch a gentleman who's been in the 
Union army, and who's got big friends. And that's one 
reason I'd like to have yon right close to me." 

His manner had something so sincere in it that it was 
almost joathetic. So, as he made Major Welch what ap- 
peared to be really a very reasonable proposal, not only as to 
the Stamjier place, but also as to several hundred acres of 
the Red Rock land adjoining, the Major agreed to take it 
under advisement, and intimated that if the title should 



prove all right, and Mrs. Welch should like the idea when 
she arrived he would probably purchase. 

Within a week or two following Major Welch's trij) to 
the county seat, and Still's offer to sell him the Stamper 
place and a part of Red Hock, Mrs. Welch arrived. Mrs. 
Welch, in her impatience, could not wait for the day she 
had set and arrived before she was expected. The telegram 
she had sent had miscarried, and when she reached the 
station there was no one present to meet her. 

A country station is a sad place at best to one who has 
just left the bustle and life of a city ; but to be deposited, 
bag and baggage, in a strange land and left alone without 
anyone to meet you, and without knowing a soul, is forlorn 
to the last degree. 

Strong as she was, Mrs. Welch, when the train whirled 
away and no one came to her, felt a sense of her isola- 
tion strike her to the heart. A two-horse carriage, the 
only one in sight, stood near a fence at some little dis- 
tance, and for a short while she thought it might have come 
for her, and she waited for some moments ; but presently 
a tall colored man and a colored woman got into it. The 
man was glittering with a shining silk-hat and a long broad- 
cloth coat ; and the woman was in a brand-new silk, and 
Avore a vivid bonnet. Even then, it occurred to Mrs. Welch 
that, perhaps, the man was the coachman, and, for a mo- 
ment, she was buoyed by hope, but she was doomed to dis- 
appointment. The man was talking loudly, and appar- 
ently talked to be heard by all around him. Mrs. Welch 
could hear something of what he said. 

" We're all right. We've got 'em down, and we mean 

to keep 'em down, too, by ! " A shout followed this. 

" Yes, the bottom rail is on top, and we mean to keep it 

so till the fence rots down, by ! " Another burst 

of laughter. " You jest stick to me and Leech, and we'll 
bring you to the promised land. Yas, we're in the saddle, 
and we mean to stay there. We've got the Gov'ment be- 
hind us, and we'll put a gun in every colored man's hand 


and give him, uot a mule, but a liorse to ride, and we'll 
dress his wife in silk and give her a carriage to ride 
ill, same's my wife's got." 

" Ummh ! heah dat ! Yes, Lord ! Dat's what I want,'' 
cried an old woman, jumping up and down in her ecstasy, 
to the amusement of the others. 

" A mule's good 'nough for me — I b'lieve I ruther have 
mule 'n hoss, I'se fetched up wid mules," called out some- 
one, which raised a great laugh, and some discussion, 

*'Well, all right; you shall have your ruther. Every- 
one shall take his pick. We'll do the ridin' now." 

Mrs. Welch was listening with keen interest. The 
speaker, w'lio was Nicholas Ash, the member from Red 
Rock, gathered up the reins. As he did so, someone 
called : 

" You better watch out for de K. K.'s," at which there 
was a roar of laughter. 

" They's the one's I'm lookin' for. I'm just fixed for 
'em, by ! " shouted the statesman. 

*' Dee ain' gwine meddle wid him," said someone in 
the crowd, admiringly. 

*' Don' know. I wouldn' drive roun' heah and talk 
'bout 'um like he does, not for dat mule he gwine gi' me." 
The laughter that greeted tliis showed that others besides 
the speaker held the same views. 

As the carriage drove off, Mrs. Welch's heart sank. 
Her last hope was gone. She was relieved somewhat by 
the approach of the station-agent, who up to that time 
had been engaged about his duties, and who now, seeing 
a lady standing outside, came up to her. Mrs. Welch 
told who she was. He had heard that Mrs, Welch was 
expected, but did not know the day. No telegrams, such 
as she spoke of, had passed through his office, and it was 
an all-day's ride up to Red Rock when the roads were bad. 
He invited her to remain as his guest, " People right often 
did so when they came, unexpected-like," 

Mrs. Welch thanked him, but thought she would prefer 


to go on, if she could get a conveyance, even if she could 
go that night only as far as Brutus ville. 

" Can't I get some sort of wagon ?" she inquired. 

The agent gazed at her with a serenity that was in strong 
contrast with her growing decisiveness. He did not know 
as she could, the mail-wagon went over in the morning 
after the early train ; people generally went by that, i 
Dill Herrick had a sort of a wagon, and folks sometimes 
took it if they got there too late for the mail-wagon and 
were in too big a hurry to wait till next day. But Dill 
was away that day. The wagon was there, but Dill had 
gone away on his horse and would not be back till next 

All this was told in the most matter-of-fact way, as if 
it was quite as much a thing of course as any other order 
of nature. Mrs. Welch was on her metal. She would 
for once give this sleepy rustic an illustration of energy ; 
she would open his eyes. 

'' Well, is that the only horse anywhere about here ? " 
Her tone was energetic, perhaps even exasperated. The 
agent was unmoved. 

" No'm ; Al Turley's got a sort of a horse, but he don't 
work very well. And Al ain't got any wagon/' 

This was too much for Mrs. Welch. 

" Don't you think we might get a horse of one man 
and the wagon and harness of the other, and put them 
together ? " she laughed. 

The agent was not so sure. Al might be going to use 
his horse, and he ''didn't work so well, anyhow." 

'' But he does work ?" Mrs. Welch persisted. 

" Oh, yes'm — some. Al ploughs with him." 

" Well, now, let's see what a little enterprise will do. 
I'll pay well for both horse and wagon." 

The agent went off, and after a time came back. Al 
would see what he could do. But again he renewed his 
invitation to her to wait until to-morrow. He was almost 
urgent ; he painted the difficulties of the journey in the 


gloomiest colors. Mrs. Welch now, however, had set her 
mind on carrying out her plans. It had become a matter 
of principle with her. She had come down here to snow 
what energy would accomplish, and she might as well 
begin now. 

While she waited, she passed her time watching the ne- 
groes who were congregated about a small building which 
seemed to be part store, part bar-room, though from her 
observation the latter was its principal office. 

They were a loud and slovenly set, but appeared to be 
good-humored, and rather like children engaged in rough 
horse-play ; and when their voices sounded most like quar- 
relling they would suddenly break out in loud guffaws of 

They were so boisterous at times that Mrs. Welch was 
glad when the station-agent returned and asked if she 
wouldn't go over and sit in his house till Al came. She 
Avould have done so, but, as he evidently intended to 
remain in the office, she thought it would be a good oppor- 
tunity to learn something about the negroes, and perhaps 
also to teach him a little on her part. 

Were the negroes not improving ? she asked. Her 
companion's whole manner changed. She was surprised to 
see what a keen glance was suddenly shot at her from un- 
der his light brows. 

"Not as I can see — You can see 'em yonder for yourself." 

'*Do they ever give you trouble ?" 

" Me ? — No'm ; don't never give 7ne trouble," he an- 
swered, negligently. '* Don' give nobody as much trouble 
as they did." 

Mrs. Welch was just thinking this corroborative of her 
own views when he, with his back to her, stooped for 
something, and the butt of a pistol gleamed in his trousers 
pocket. Mrs. Welch froze up. She could hardly refrain 
from speaking of it. She understood now the signifi- 
cance of his speech. Just then there was quite a roar 
outside, followed by the rattle of wheels, and the next in- 


stant Mrs. "Welch's vehicle drew up to the door. For a 
moment Mrs. Welch's heart failed her, and she regretted 
the enterprise which had committed her to such a combi- 
nation. In the shafts of a rickety little wagon — the 
wheels of which wobbled in every direction and made 
four distinct tracks — was a rickety little yellow horse 
which at that moment, to the great diversion of the crowd 
of negroes outside, was apparently attempting to back 
the wagon through a fence. One instant he sat down in 
the shafts, and the next reared and plunged and tried to 
go any way but the right way. Two negroes were holding 
on to him while the others were shouting with laughter 
and delight. The driver was a spare, dingy-looking 
countryman past middle age, and was sitting in the wagon, 
the only creature in sight that appeared to be unmoved by 
the excitement. Mrs. Welch's heart sank, and even after 
the plunging little animal was quieted she would have de- 
clined to go ; but it was too late now. She had never put 
her hand to the plough and turned back. 

'' I can manage him," said the driver serenely, seeing 
her hesitation. And as there were many assurances that 
he was "all right now," and everyone was expecting her 
to get in, she summoned the courage and climbed in. 

It was a wearying drive. The roads were the worst 
Mrs. Welch had ever seen, but, in one way, there Avas ex- 
citement enough. The tedium was relieved by the occa- 
sional breaking of the harness and the frequent necessity 
of dismounting to walk up the hill when the horse balked. 

The day before had been very warm, and Mrs. Welch's 
journey had not been a comfortable one, and this last 
catastrophe capped the climax. But she did not com- 
plain — she considered querulousness a sin — it was a sign 
of weakness. Perhaps, she even found a certain satisfac- 
tion in her discomfort. She had not come for comfort. 
But when the harness broke for the half-dozenth time, she 
asked : 

** Why don't you keep your harness in good order ? " 


The somewhat apathetic look iu the driver's face 

" 'Tain't my harness." 

" Well, whosever it is, why don't he keep it in order ? " 

"You'll have to ask Dill that," he said, dryly. 

When, a few minutes later, they came to their next stand 
she began again : 

" Why don't you keej) your roads repaired and rebuild 
your fences ? " 

*' I don't live about here." This time the tone was a 
little shorter. 

''Well, it's the same all the way. It's been just as bad 
from the start. What is the reason ?" she persisted. 

"Indeed, ma'am I don't know," he drawled, "some 
says it's the Yankee carpet-baggers steals all the money — " 

" Well, I don't believe it — I believe it's that the people 
are just shiftless," Mrs. Welch fired back. 

The man, for answer, only jerked his horse : " Git 
up ! " 

"A dull fellow," thought Mrs. Welch, and presently 
she essayed again : 

" The Yankees are thrifty enough. In all the North 
there is not such a road as this. I wish yon could see 
their villages, how snug and trig and shipshape they are: 
houses painted, fences kept up, everything nice and neat." 

" Maybe, that's where they puts the money they steals 
down here," said the driver, more dryly than before. 

Mrs. Welch grew hot, but she could not help being 
amused too. 

" It must be an accident, but I'll write that home," 
thought she. She, however, had not mucli time to think. 
For just then they were descending a steep hill and the 
breeching gave way, the wagon ran down on the horse, aud, 
without a second's warning, the little steed, like the Gad- 
arine swine, ran violently down the steep hill, and on up 
the road. The driver, who was swinging to him for life, 
wtis in the act of assuriii'^ Mrs. Welch that she need not be 


scared as lie could hold liim, wlieu the rein broke and he 
went out suddenly backward over the wheel, and Mrs. 
Welch herself must soon have followed him, had not a 
horseman unexpectedly dashed up from behind and, spur- 
ring his fleet horse beside the tearing little beast in the 
wagon, seized the runaway by the bridle and brought it to 
a stand-still. 

The transition from the expectation of immediate in- 
jury, if not death, to absolute security is itself a shock, 
and even after the vehicle was quite still, Mrs. Welch, who 
had been holding on to its sides with all her might, could 
luirdly realize her escape. Her first thought was for the 

"Oh ! I^m afraid that poor man is killed ! " she ex- 

" Oh ! he's all right. I hope you are not hurt, ma- 
dam?" said her rescuer, solicitously. "I think I'd bet- 
ter hold the horse, or I would come and take you out." 

Mrs. Welch assured him that she was not at all hurt, 
and she sprang out and declared that she would go back at 
once and look after the driver. Just then, however, tlie 
driver appeared, covered with dust, but not otherwise 

" Well, I was just sayin' I'd saved Al, anyhow," he said 
as he came up. " And I'm glad to find, Cap'n, you saved 
the others." 

"What are you going to do now?" Mrs. Welch asked 
when the driver had finished talking to the gentleman, and 
begun to work at the harness. 

" I'm going to take you to the Cote-house. I told you 
I'd do it." 

" Behind that horse !" 

"Ain't nothin' the matter with the hoss — it's the gear." 

" I think I'd better take her," the young man who had 
rescued her said, though with a little hesitation. " I can 
take her behind me, and get her there by the through 

328 RED ROCK , 

"What! On that horse? I can't ride that creature/* 
declared Mrs. Welch with wide-open eyes, looking at his 
handsome horse which was still prancing from excitement. 

" Why, he's as quiet as a lamb — he's carried double many 
a time, and several ladies have ridden him. I could get 
you there much quicker than you can drive. All you have 
to do is to hold on to me. Whoa, boy ! " 

''I know that sort of lamb," declared Mrs. Welch, 
" What shall I do with my trunk?" 

The young man's confidence was telling on her and she 
was beginning to yield. The choice was between the two 
horses and she had had exjierience with one. 

"Oh! your trunk's all right. I'll carry your trunk on," 
agreed the driver. He had finished his mending and was 
gathering up his reins. 

" Do you mean that you are going to get in there and 
try to drive that horse again?" 

" That's what I'm agoin' to do 'm." 

" Then I'll get in, too," declared Mrs. Welch, firmly. 
Her face was pale, but there was a light in her eyes that 
made her suddenly handsome. The two men looked at her 
and both began to expostulate. 

" I made him come, and I don't mean that he shall risk 
his neck for me alone," she declared, firmly, gathering up 
her skirts. But the horseman suddenly interfered. 

" I couldn't let you be run away with again under my 
very eyes," he said, smiling, " I might be held accountable 
by your dan by your fam your Government." 

Mrs. Welch was not accustomed to being talked to in 
this way ; but she liked him none the less for it. However, 
she would not yield. 

It was finally agreed that a trial should be made first 
without her, and then, if the horse went all right, she could 
get in. Both men insisted on tins, and as they explained 
that the driver could manage the horse better without her, 
she temporized. Indeed she was obliged to do so, for the 
young man who had rescued her told her plainly, though 



politely, that he would not allow her to get in the wagon 
again until the experiment had been made. 

After a little time, as the horse appeared to liave been so- 
bered by his unwonted exertion, she was allowed to mount 
once more, and so proceeded, the young gentleman riding 
close beside the horse, to prevent any further trouble. 

Mrs. Welch at last had time to look at her deliverer. 
He was a tall, fine-looking young fellow, with the face and 
address of a gentleman. A slouch hat, much weather- 
stained, and a suit of clothes by no means new, at first 
sight made his dress appear negligent, but his voice was 
as refined as any Mrs. Welch had ever heard ; his manner 
was a mixture of deference and protection, and his face, 
with clear, gray eyes, firm mouth, and pleasant smile, gave 
him an air of distinction and was one of the most attrac- 
tive she had ever seen. 

He had introduced himself to her when he first spoke ; 
Captain Somebody, he said, but as she had been rather 
agitated at that moment she had not caught the name, 
and she waited until he should mention it again or she 
should get a chance to ask the driver. When she did ask 
him, she understood him to say Caj^tain Naline. 

After a time, as the horse was now quiet and there 
were no more bad hills, the gentleman said he had an en- 
gagement, and would have to ride on. So, as Mrs. Welch 
declared herself now entirely easy in her mind, he bade 
her good-evening and galloped on, and soon afterward 
Mrs. Welch. was met by her husband on his way over to 
the station with a carriage. 



Mrs. Welch had not been in the County forty-eight 
hours before she wiis quite satisfied that this was the field 
for her worli, and that she was the very hiborer for this 

In three days the signs of her occupation and energy 
were unmistakable. Every room in the little cottage was 
scoured afresh, and things were changed within the old 
house, and were undergoing a change without, which 
would have astonished the departed Stampers. 

A gang of darkies, of all ages and sizes, Vv'as engaged by 
her or collected somehow (perhaps, no one knew just how, 
unless Iliram, Avho distributed the contents of the boxes, 
knew), who, Andy Stamper said, looked like harvesters 
and got harvest-wages. The rooms were turned inside 
out, the yard was cleared up, the fences repaired and white- 
washed, and the chambers were papered or painted of a 
dark maroon or other rich color, then the fashion, by 
Doan, whom Hiram Still sent over for the jiurpose — Mrs. 
Welch not only superintending actively, but showing, with 
real skill, how it ought to be done ; for one of the lady's 
maxims was, " What your hands find to do, do with all 
your might." Euth, during the repairs, took occasion to 
pull out carefully the nail on which Andy had told her his 
fatlier used to hang his watch, and sent it wrapt in a neat 
little parcel to Andy, with a note saying how much pleas- 
ure she had in sending it. She did not dream that by this 
little act she was making one of the best friends of her life. 
Sergeant Stamper drove the nail in a strip beside his own 



hed. And as he struck the last blow he turned to his wife, 
who with sympathetic eyes was standing by, and said : 

** Delia, if I ever fail to do what that young lady 
asks me, I hope God will drive the nails in my coffin 
next day." 

On the arrival of Mrs. Welch, there was a repetition of 
those visits of mingled friendliness and curiosity which 
had been paid Major Welch and Miss Ruth. And as Ma- 
jor Welch and Ruth formed their opinions, so now, Mrs. 
Welch formed hers. She prided herself on her reasoning 
faculty. She repudiated the idea that woman's intuition 
was a substitute for man's reason. She was not going to 
hang on any such wretched makeshift. She judged men 
and things precisely as men did, she said, and the only 
difference was that she was quicker than most men. 

Dr. Gary and Mrs. Gary called with Miss Thomasia and 
Blair ; and General Legale and Jacquelin Gray and Steve 
Allen rode np together one afternoon. The two former 
paid only a short visit, but Gap tain Allen stayed to tea. 
Steve treated her with that mingled deference and freedom 
which, in just the right proportion, make — at least, in a 
young and handsome man — the most charming manners. 
He even dared to tease Mrs. Welch on the serious sentiments 
she expressed, and on her appearance that day in the wagon, 
a liberty that neither Ruth nor Major Welch ever ventured 
to take ; and to Ruth's exceeding surprise, her mother, so 
far from resenting it, actually appeared to like it. As for 
Ruth, her mother surprised a look of real delight in her 

It gave her food for thought. " That young man talked 
to me ; but he looked at Ruth. What does it mean ? It 
might mean one thing — yes, it might mean that ? But it 
is impossible!" She put the idea aside as too absurd to 
consider. However, she determined to be on her guard. 

Mrs. Welch had no time to spend in the sort of hospital- 
ity practised by her neighbors. The idea of going over to 
a neighbor's to " spend the day," as most of the invitations 


she received ran, or of having them come and " spend the 
day" with her as they did with others, was intolerable. It 
might have done, she held, for an archaic state of society, 
but it was just this terrible waste of time that made the 
people about her what she saw them: indolent, and shift- 
less and poor. She had '' work to do," and she "' meant to 
do it." So, having called formally at Dr. Gary's, Miss 
Gray's, and the other places, the ladies from which had 
called on her, she declined further invitations and began 
her "work." She wrote to her Society back at home, that 
as she looked around her spirit groaned within her. The har- 
vest was ripe — already too ripe, and the over-ripened wheat 
was falling, day by day, to the earth and being trampled 
in the ground. Slie wrote also her impressions of her new 
neighbors. She was charmed with Miss Thomasia and the 
General. The former reminded her of her grandmother, 
whom she remembered as a w'lite-haired old lady knitting 
in her armchair, and the General was an old French field- 
marshal, of the time of Bayard or Sidney, who had strayed 
into this century, and who would not surprise her by ap- 
pearing in armor with a sleeve around his helmet, " funny, 
dear, old fossil that he is." She was pleased with Miss 
Gary and the Doctor, though the former appeared to have 
rather too antiquated views of life, and the Doctor was un- 
practical to the last degree. They were all densely pre- 
judiced ; but that she did not in the least mind ; they were 
also universally shiftless, but she had hope. They must 
be enlightened and aided (Mrs. Welch was conscious of a 
feeling of virtuous charitableness when she penned this. It 
was going farther than she had ever deemed it possible she 
could go). When it came to the question of the poor blacks, 
the whites were all alike. They had not the least idea 
of their duty to theni : even those she had mentioned as the 
most enlightened, regarded them yet as only so many (ihat- 
tels, as still slaves. Finally, she wrote, she could not but 
admit that nothing but kindness had been shown to them- 
selves since their arrival. One could not but appreciate such 


cordiality, even if it were the result of mere imj)nlse rather 
than of steady principle. But Mr. Still, the Union man 
of whom the Society knew, had intimated that it was only 
a concerted effort to blind them to the true state of affairs, 
and that if they exhibited any independence it would soon 
change. As to this she should be watchful. And she ap- 
pealed for help. 

Such was the substance of the first letter that Mrs. Welch 
wrote back to her old Reform and Help Society at home, 
which was regarded by some of her friends as a roseate- 
colored statement of the case. It was even intimated 
that it contained evidence that Mrs. Welch was already 
succumbing to the very influence she repudiated. 

" But they all do it. I never knew anyone go down 
there who did not at once abandon all principles and 
fall a victim to the influences of those people," declared 
Mrs. Bolter, who, now that Mrs. Welch had left, rejjre- 
sented the earnest and most active wing of the society. 

"May not that prove that perhaps there is something on 
their side that we do not understand ? " hazarded one of 
the young ladies of the society, Mrs. Clough, v/ho, as a 
daughter of Senator Rockfield, was privileged to express 

"Not at all," declared Mrs. Bolter. "I knew that 
Major Welch and Ruth were both hopelessly weak ; but I 
confess I did think better things of Mrs. Welch." 

" Do you know, now that she has gone, I confess that I 
always did think Euth Welch had more sense — more prac- 
tical sense I mean, than her mother," said Mrs. Clough. 

" Of course, you do," replied the older lady. Mrs. 
Clough colored. 

"And my husband thinks so, too." 

"Oh! if your husband thinks so— of course!" Mrs. Bol- 
ter looked sympathetic and superior. " I supjjosed he 
thought so." The younger lady colored deeply. 

"And my sister thinks so," she added, with dignity. 

" Oh ! indeed 1 I knew she thought some of the younger 


members of the connection very attractive," said Mrs. 

Mrs. Clougli rose, and, witli a bow, left tlie assembly. 

She was comforted that evening by hearing her husband 
not only commend her views warmly, but abuse Mrs. Bol- 
ter as a *' stuck-up and ill-bred woman, as vain and vulgar 
as Bolter himself,'' whom he would not trust around the 

" If she is that now, what will she be after she marries 
her daughter to Captain Middleton ? " Mrs. Clougli said. 
*' She's had him in tow ever since he came home a week 
ago. I do think it is vulgar, the way some women run 
after men for their daughters nowadays. She has not 
given that poor man an hour's rest since he landed." 

" I don't believe there's anything in that. Larry would 
not marry one of that family. He knows Bolter too well. 
I always thought he would end by marrying Ruth Welch, 
and he told me to-day at the club he was going South." 

" Oh ! all you men always were silly about Ruth Welch. 
You all thought she was the most beautiful creature in 
the world," said little Mrs. Clougli, with an air not wholly 
reconcilable with her attitude at the Aid Society meet- 
ing just recorded. 

" No, I know one man who made one exception," said 
her husband leaning over and kissing her, and thereupon, 
as is the way with lovers, began " new matter." 

" Captain Middleton is not going South," said Mrs. 
Clough, suddenly. *' That is, he's going south ; but not 
to the South." 

*' He is not ! Why, he told me he was." 

" Well, he's not. He's going to Washington." She 
spoke oracularly. 

" What's he going there about ? About that old affair ? 
You seem to know his plans better than he does. I see 
by the papers it's up again. Or about that railroad 
scheme Bolter's working at? He's down there now. Larry 
said he had to see the Senator." 


*' No, abont a new affair — Larry Middleton is in love 
with Alice," said Mrs. Clougli, with entire unconscious- 
ness of the singularity of her sudden and unexpected 
bouleversement. Her husband turned round on her in 
blank amazement. 

'' Wha-at ! " He strung the word out in his surprise. 

" Yes — you men are so blind. He's in love with Alice ; 
was with her abroad and came home to see her." She 
was suddenly interested in a very small baby-garment she 
was sewing on. 

**Why, you just said he was in love with Ruth 
Welch ! " 

" Did I ? " she asked, quietly, as calm as a May morn- 
ing, and apparently with perfect indifference. 

" — And you said Mrs. Bolter would catch him for her 
loud, sporty daughter ! " 

*' Oh ! I believe I did." She was turning a hem. 
''One, two, three," she counted. "Well, she won't get 
him." She was interested only in the baby-garment. 

*' Are they engaged ? " 

*' Not yet — quite — but almost — Will be in a week. 
Isn't that a darling ? " She held up the garment, and 
spanned it with her pink fingers. 

" Well, you women are curious," said her husband, al- 
most with a gasp. "Here you have been abusing Ruth 
Welch and Mrs. Bolter and every woman Larry Middleton 
knew in the world, and all the time he was dead in love 
with your own sister! " 

" Umhm ! " She looked up and nodded brightly, then 
broke into a laugh. " And yon think that's curious ? " 

" Well, I'm glad of it. Larry's a good fellow. Now I 
see it all. I thought he was uncommonly glad to see me 
to-day, and when I undertook to chaff him a little about 
Ruth Welch, looked rather red and silly." 

"You didn't !" said his wife, aghast. "What in the 
world !" 

" Oh ! I'll make it all right the next time I see him. 


How Avas I to know ? I'll write to Alice and congratulate 

" Indeed, you'll not. Not a word. You'll ruin every- 
thing ! " 


'' Why, he hasn't spoken yet " 

" Why, you just said — " He hq^sed into reflection. 

*' Oh ! You men are so stupid ! " sighed Mrs. Cloiigh. 
*'But come, promise me." 

And he promised — as we all do — always. 

Having despatched her apjieal, Mrs. Welch did not 
waste time waiting for a response, but was as good as her 
word and, like an energetic soul, without waiting a day, 
sickle in hand, entered the field alone. Her first ste]) 
was what she termed " informing herself." She always 
"informed herself" about things; it was one of the se- 
crets of her success, she said. 

Her first visit on this tour of inspection Avas to the 
Bend. She selected this as the primary object of her 
visitation, because she understood it was the worst place 
in tlie community, and she proposed to go at once to the 
very bottom. Dr. Gary had spoken of it as " a festering 
spot "; General Legale had referred to it as " a den of 
iniquity." Well, if it were a festering sore it ought 
to be treated ; if it were a den it ought to be opened to 
the light, she declared. She found it worse than she had 
expected ; but this did not deter her. She forthwith 
set to work to build a school-house near the Bend, and 
sent for a woman to come down and take charge of it. 

She was no little surprised one day when she called at a 
cabin where she had been told a woman was ill, to have 
the door opened by Mrs. Gary. Mrs. Gary invited her in 
and thanked her for calling, quite as if she owned the 
house. Mrs. Welch had her first gleam of doubt as to 
whether she had stated the case to her Society with entire 
correctness. She observed that the woman's sheets were 


old and patched, and she said she would have her Society 
make new ones. How could she know that Maria's old 
mistress had just brought her these and that she and Blair 
had mended them with their own hands ? 

It does not require an earthquake to start talk in a rural 
community — and Mrs. Welch had not been in her new 
home a month, or, for that matter, a week, before she was 
the most talked-of woman in the County. 

Notwithstanding Hiram Still's desire to keep secret the 
fact that he was trying to sell a part of Eed Rock to Major 
Welch, it was soon rumored around that Major Welch was 
to buy the Stamper place and a considerable part of the 
old Gray estate. Leech, it was reported, had come up from 
town, given a clean title and prepared a deed which was to 
be delivered on a certain day. Allowing for exaggerations, 
it is astonishing how accurate the bureau of advanced 
rumor often is. 

Steve Allen and Jacquelin Gray held sundry conferences 
in the clerk's office, with tlie papers in Still's old suit be- 
fore them, and it got abroad that they were not going to 
permit the sale. 

The day before that set by this exact agency for the final 
consummation of the purchase, a letter was brought for 
Major Welch. The messenger who brought it was a hand- 
some, spirited-looking boy cf seventeen or eighteen, evi- 
dently a gentleman's son. Major Welch was away from 
home ; but Euth happened to be in the yard when the boy 
rode up. He was mounted on a handsome bay with white 
feet, v/hich Ruth recognized as that which Captain Allen 
rode. Ruth loved a fine horse, and she went up to him. 
As she approached, the boy sprang to the ground and took 
o2 his hat with a manner so like Captain Allen's that 
Ruth smiled to herself. 

*'Is — is Major Welch at home?" he asked. He had 
pulled a paper from his pocket and was blushing with a 
boy's embarrassment. 

Euth said her father was not at home, but explained that 


she would take any letter for liiiii — or — would not he tie 
his horse and come in and wait for her father ? 

This invitation quite overthrew the little structure of 
assurance the boy had built up, and he was thrown into 
such a state of confusion that Ruth's heart went out to 

He thanked her ; but he was afraid his horse would 
not stand tied. He was stuffing the paper back in his 
pocket, hardly aware of what he was doing. 

Kuth was sure the horse would stand ; she had seen him 
tied ; but she respected the boy's confusion, and offered 
again to take the letter for her father. He gave it to her 
apjDarently with reluctance. His cousin, Steve Allen, 
had told him to give it to Major Welch himself, he half 

" Well, I am his daughter. Miss Welch," Kuth said, 
" and you can tell Captain Allen that I said I would cer- 
tainly deliver it to my father. Won't you tell me who 
you are ? " she asked, smiling. 

" I'm Eupert Gray, Jacquelin Gray's brother.'^ 

*' Oh ! You have been off at school ? " 

" Yes'm. Jacquelin would make me go, but I've come 
back for good, now. He says I needn't go any more. He 
hasn't got anything to send me any more, anyhow." 
This in a very cheery tone. He was partly recovering 
from his embarrassment. " Steve wanted to send me to 
college, but I won't go." 

''You won't? Why not?" 

" Steve hasn't got any money to send me to college. 
Besides, they just want to get me away from here — I know 
'em — and I won't go." (With a boy's confidingness.) 
" They're afraid I'll get — " He stopped short. — " But I'm 
not afraid. Just let 'em try." He paused, his face 
Hushed with excitement, and looked straight at her. He 
evidently wanted to say sometliing else to her, and she 
smiled encouragingly. 

*' You tell your father not to have anything to do with 


that Still and that man Leech." His tone was a mixture 
of sincerity and persuasiveness. 

" Why ? " Ruth smiled. 

** Because — one's a carpetbagger and t'other a scala- 

'* Why, we are carj)etbaggers, too." 

" Well — yes — biit — . Steve he says so, too. And he 
don't want you to get mixed up witli 'em. That's the rea- 
son." His embarrassment returned for a moment. 

*' Oh ! Captain Allen says so ? I'm very much obliged 
to him, I'm sure." Euth laughed, but her form straight- 
ened and her color deepened. 

" No, no, not that way. Steve is a dandy. And so is 
Jacquelin. He's just as good as Steve. Never was any- 
body like Jacquelin. You ought to know him. That 
fellow Leech imprisoned him. But I knocked him down 
— I could die for Jacquelin — at least, I think I could. 
That's the reason I hate 'em so ! " he broke out, vehe- 
mently. " And I don't want you to get mixed np with 
'em. You aren't like them. You are more like us." 

Ruth smiled at the ingenuousness of this compliment. 

" And you tell your father, won't you ?" he repeated. 
" Good-evening." He held out his hand, shook hers, 
sprang on his horse, and, making her a flourishing bow, 
galloped away, evidently very proud of his horsemanship. 

He left Ruth with a pleasant feeling round her heart, 
which she could scarcely have accounted for. She won- 
dered what it was that his brother and Captain Allen were 
afraid the boy would do. 

As for Rupert, when he returned to Captain Allen he 
was so full of Miss Welch that Steve declared he was in 
love with her, and guilefully drew him on to talk of her 
and tell, over and over, every detail of his interview. The 
charge of being in love the boy denied, of course, but from 
that time Ruth, without knowing it, had the truest bless- 
ing a girl can have — the ingenuous devotion of a young 
boy's heart. 


When her father came home the current of Ruth's 
thoughts was changed. 

The letter Rupert had brought contained a paper, or 
rather two papers, addressed to Major Welch. One was a 
formal notice to him that the title by which Still held Red 
Rock was fraudulent and invalid, and that he would buy 
at his peril, as a suit would be brought to rip up the whole 
matter and set aside the deed under which Still held. 
The pajDcr was signed by Jacquelin Gray and witnessed 
by Stevenson Allen as counsel, in whose handwriting it 
was. In addition to the formal notice, here was a note to 
Major Welch from Captain Allen, in w\ilch he stated that 
having heard the rumor that Major Welch was contemplat- 
ing buying the place in question, he felt it his duty to let 
him know at once that such a step would involve him in a 
lawsuit, and that possibly it might be very unpleasant for 

This letter was a bombshell. 

Mrs. Welch took it not as a legal notice, but as a declar- 
ation of war, and when that gage was flung down she was 
ready to accept it. She came of a stock equally prompt 
to be martyrs or fighters. She urged Major Welch to re- 
ply plainly at once. It was just a part of the persecu- 
tion all loyal people had to go through. Let them see 
that they were not afraid. Major Welch was for moving 
a little deliberately. He should certainly not be bullied 
into receding from his purchase by anything of this kizul, 
but he would act prudently. He would look again into 
the matter and see if there was any foundation for the 

Ruth rallied to the side of her mother and father, and 
felt as angry with Mr. Allen and everyone else concerned 
in the matter as it was in the nature of her kind heart to 

Major Welch's investigation did not j)roceed exactly on 
the lines on which he would have acted at home. He had 
to rely on the men lie employed. Both Still and Leech 


insisted that the notice given was merely an attempt to 
bully him. They further furnished him an abstract of 
the title, which showed it to be perfectly clear and regular, 
aud when Major Welch applied in person to the old clerk, 
he corroborated this and certified that at that time no clond 
was on the title. 

He was, however, by no means as gracious toward Ma- 
jor Welch as he had been the first time he saw him — was, 
on the contrary, rather short in his manner, and, that 
gentleman thought, almost regretted to have to give the 

" Yes, it's all clear to date as far as the records show," 
he said, with careful limitation, in reply to a request from 
Major Welch for a certificate, " but if you'll take my ad- 
vice " 

Still, who was sitting near, wriggled slightly in his chair. 

Major Welch had been a little exasperated. *' My dear 
sir, I should be very glad to take your advice generally, 
but this is a matter of private business between this gentle 

between Mr. Still aud myself, and I must be allowed 

to act on my own judgment. What I want is not advice, 
but a certificate of the state of those titles." 

A change came over the old clerk's countenance. He 
bowed stiffly. " All right, sir ; I reckon you know your 
own business," he said, dryly, and he made out the certifi- 
cate and handed it to Major Welch almost grimly. 

Major Welch glanced at it and turned to Still. 

" You can have your deeds prepared, Mr. Still. I am 
going to town to-morrow and shall be ready to pay over 
the money on my return." He spoke in a tone for the 
clerk to hear and intended to show his resolution. 

Still followed him out and suggested that he'd as lieve 
give him the deeds to put to record then, and he could 
pay him when he came back. He was always willing to 
take a gentleman's word. This, however. Major Welch 
would not consent. to. 

Still stayed with Major Welch all the rest of the day and 


returned home with him: a fellowship which, though some- 
what irksome to the Major, he tolerated, because Still, 
half-jestiugly, half-seriously, explained that somehow ho 
" felt sort of safer " when he was with the Major. 

Two or three days afterward Major Welch, having re- 
turned from the capital, paid Still the money and took his 
deed ; and it was duly recorded. 

The interview in the clerk^s office, in which Major 
"Welch had declined to hear the old clerk^s advice, was re- 
ported by Mr. Dockett to Steve Allen and Jacquelin Gray 
that same evening. The only way to save the place, the} 
agreed, was to institute their proceedings and file a notice 
of a pending suit, or, as the lawyers call it, a lis pendens. 

" He'll hardly be big enough fool to fly in the face of 
that," said Mr. Dockett. 

So the very next day a suit was docketed and a lis pen- 
dens filed, giving notice that the title to the lands was in 

The summonses were delivered to the sheriif, Mr. James 
Sherwood ; but this was the day Major Welch spent in the 
city, and when the sheriff handed the summons to Still 
and showed the one he had for Major "Welch, Still took it 
from him, saying he would serve it for him. 

Thus it happened that when Major "Welch j^idd down 
the money he was in ignorance that two suits had already 
been instituted to declare the title in Still fraudulent. 

Meantime, copies of Mrs. Welch's letter to her friends had 
come back to the County, and the effect was instantaneous. 

When Mrs. Welch wrote the letter describing her new 
home and surroundings, she gave, as has been said, what 
she considered a very favorable account of her neighbors. 
She had not written the letter for publication, yet, when 
the zeal of her friends gave it to the public, she was sensi- 
ble of a feeling of gratified pride. There were in it i\. 
number of phrases which, as she looked at them in cold 
print, she would in a milder mood have softened ; but she 
consoled herself with the reflection that the individuals 


referred to in the letter would never see it. Alas ! for the 
vain trnst of those who rely on their obscnrity to hide their 
indiscretions. The Censor was as well known, even if not 
so extensively known, in the old Conuty as in Mrs. Welch's 
former home. It had long been known as Leeches organ, 
and was taken by more than one of the Red Rock residents. 

When the issne containing JMrs. Welch's letter first a,^- 
peared it raised a breeze. The neighborhood was deeply 
stirred and, what appeared most curious to Mrs. Welch was, 
that what gave most offence, was her reference to individ- 
uals which she had intended to be rather complimentary. 
She made up her mind to face boldly the commotion she 
had raised and to bear with fortitude whatever it might 
bring. She did not know that it was her patronizing at- 
titude that gave the most serious offence. 

"1 don't mind her attack on us, but blame her impu- 
dent, patronizing air," declared the little General — " Gen- 
eral Fossil," as Steve called him — "and to think that I 
should have put myself out to be esisecially civil to her ! 
Steve, you are so fond of Northern cherries, I shall let you 
do the civilities for us both hereafter." To the General's 
surprise, Steve actually reddened. 

The next time Mrs. Welch met her neighbors she was 
conscious of the dilTerence in their bearing toward her. It 
was at old St. Ann's. When she had been there before, 
the whole congregation had thronged about her with warm 
greetings and friendly words. Now there was a marked 
change. Though Steve Allen and Rupert and Blair, and 
a few others came up and spoke to her, the rest of the 
congregation contented themselves with returning her 
bows coldly from a distance, and several ladies, she was 
sure, studiously avoided her greeting. 

" Well, sir, I knew she was a oner as soon as I lay my 
eye 'pon her," said Andy Stamper to a group of his friends 
in the court-yard at the county seat the next court day, 
"■ but I didn't know she was goin' to take that tack. She's 
done fixed up the place till you wouldn't know it from a 


town place. She has painted them okl rooms so black 
that Doan had to git a candle to see how to do it, and I 
was bom in one of 'em. I told her I never heard o' paint- 
in' nothin' that black befo' but a coffin, but she said it 
was her favorite color." 

" 'Pears like that's so too, Sergeant," laughed someone. 
" Is Hiram there much ?" 

" Oh ! he goes there ; but you know I don't think slie 
likes him ; and it's my opinion that Hiram he's afeard of 
her as he is of Jacquelin Gray. He talks that soft v/ay 
o' hisn aroun' her which he uses when he's afeared o' any- 
one. She's gin them niggers the best clo'es you ever sec — 
coats better then me or you or anyone aroun' heah has 
seen since the war. What's curious to me is that though 
she don't seem to like niggers apd git along with 'em easy- 
lilce and nat'ral as we all do, in another way she seems to 
kind o' want to like 'em. It reminds me of takin' physic : 
she takes 'em with a sort o' gulp, but wants to take 'em 
and wants to make everybody else do it. 

" Now she's been over yonder to the Bend and got 'em 
all stirred up, diggin' dreens and whitewashin' and cuttin' 
poles for crosslay." 

"She'll be tryin' to whitewash them," said one of his 

"Well, by Jingo ! if she sets her mind to it she'll make 
it stick," said Aud}^ " What gits me is the way she ain't 
got some'n better to work on." 

Report said that Jacquelin was blossoming into a fine 
young lawyer. Steve Allen declared that his practice was 
doubling under Jacquelin's devotion to the work — whicli 
was very well, as Steve, Avhether from contrariness or some 
other motive, was becoming a somewhat frequent visitor at 
Major Welch's, these days. 

The General asserted that if Jacquelin stuck to his of- 
fice and studied as assiduously as he was doing, he Avould 
be the most learned lawyer in the State. "But he'll kill 


himself if he does not stop it. Why, I can see the difi'er- 
ence in him already," he declared to Miss Thomasia, soli- 
citously. Miss Thomasia herself had seen the change in 
Jacquelin^s apijearance since his return home. He was 
growing thin again, and, if not pale, was at least losing that 
ruddy hue of health which he had had on his arrival, and 
she expostulated with him, and tried even to get Blair to do 
the same ; for Blair always had great influence with him, 
she told her. Blair, however, pooh-poohed the matter and 
said, indifferently, that she could not see any difference 
in him and thought he looked very well. Miss Thomasia 
shook her head. Blair did not use to be so hard-hearted. 

But, however this was, Jacquelin did not alter his 
course. The negroes had become so unruly, that, as Su- 
per t was often away from home, and his aunt was left 
alone, he came home every night, though it was often late 
before he arrived ; but early in the morning he returned 
to the Court-house and spent the day there in his office, 
rarely accepting an invitation or taking any holiday. 

When he and Blair met, which they did sometimes un- 
avoidably, there was a return of the old constraint that 
had existed before he went away, and even with Steve he 
appeared to be growing silent and self-absorbed. 

Blair had become the mainstay of her family. Uncon- 
sciously she had slipped into the position where she was 
the prop on which both her father and mother leaned. 
She taught her little colored school, and at home was al- 
Avays busy about something. She vied with Mrs. Andy 
Stamper in raising chickens, and with Miss Thomasia in 
raising violets. Under her skilful management, the little 
cottage amid its wilderness of fruit-trees, in which old Mr. 
and Mrs. Bellows had lived, became a rose-bower, and the 
fruit-trees became an orchard with its feet buried in clover. 
Her father said of her that she was a perpetual reproduction 
of the miracle of the creation — that she created the sun 
and followed it with all the plants and herbs after their kind. 

Yet, with all these duties, Blair found time to run over 


to see Miss Thomasia almost every day or two ; at first shy- 
ly and at rare intervals, but, after she found that Jacque- 
lin was always at his office, oftener and more freely. She 
always declared that a visit to Miss Thomasia was like 
reading one of Scott's novels ; that she got back to a land 
of chivalry and drank at the springs of pure romance ; 
while Miss Thomasia asserted that Blair was a breath of May. 

Jacquelin, after a time, came to recognize the traces of 
Blair's visits, in the little touches of change and improve- 
ment about the house : a pruned rosebush here, a fold of 
white curtain there, and he often had to hear her praises 
sung by Miss Thomasia's guileless tongue, and listen to the 
good lady's lament because Blair and Steve did not proceed 
a little more satisfactorily with their affairs. Miss Thomasia 
had an idea that it was on account of Steve's former reputa- 
tion for wildness. *' It would have such a good influence on 
Steve," she declared, " would be just what he needed. I 
quite approve of a young lady being coy and maidenly, but, 
of course, I know there is an understanding between them, 
and I must say, I think Blair is carrying it too far." Slie 
bridled as she always did at the thought of anyone opposing 
Steve. "I know that a man is sometimes driven by a young 
lady's cruelty — apparent crtrelty — for I am sure Blair would 
not wittingly injure anyone — into courses very sad and in- 
jurious to liim." Miss Thomasia heaved a sigh and gazed 
out of the window, and a moment later resumed her knitting. 

" Do you see anything of that — young lady, Miss 
Welch ? " she asked Jacquelin, suddenly. 

Jacquelin said he had not seen her for some time, except 
at church, and once or twice in the village, at a distance. 

" I did not suppose you had," said Miss Thomasia. " She 
is a very nice, refined girl — has always been very sweet to 
me when I have met her — but of course — ." Her lips 
closed firmly and she began to knit vigorously, leaving 
Jacquelin to wonder what she meant. 

"I only wanted to know," she said, presently, and tliat 
was the only explanation she gave. 



The difference in the attitude of their neighbors tow- 
ard them was felt deeply by Major and Mrs. Welch. 
Even Dr. Gary's wonted cordiality had given place, when he 
met Mrs. Welch, to grave and formal courtesy. Toward 
Major Welch the formality was less marked, while toward 
Ruth there was almost the same warmth and friendliness 
that had existed before Mrs. Welch's letters were seen. 
Ruth received quite as many invitations as before, and 
when she met her neighbors they were as cordial to her as 
ever. She was conscious that this difference in her case 
was intentional, that the old warmth toward her was 
studied, and that they meant her to feel that the change 
in their attitude did not extend to her. Ruth, however, 
was far too loyal to her own to accept such attentions ; so 
far from accepting, she resented the overtures made her, 
and was not slow in letting it be understood. There 
w^ere one or two exceptions to this general attitude. For 
Blair Gary her liking deepened. Blair was sweeter than 
ever to her, and though Ruth felt that this was to make 
up to her for the coolness of others, there were a real 
warmth and a true sympathy in Blair, and a delicacy and 
charm about her manner of showing them that touched 
Ruth, and she was conscious that day by day she became 
drawn more and more closely to her. She felt that Blair 
understood her and sympathized with her, and tliat, if 
slie ever chose to speak, she had in her a friend on wliose 
bosom she could fling herself and find consolement. Such 



friendships are rare. The friend with whom one docs not 
have to make explanations is God-given. 

"With her other neighbors Ruth stood on her dignity, in 
armed gnardfulness. She carried her head higher than 
she had ever done in her life, and responded to their 
advances with a coldness that soon gained her a reputa- 
tion for as much pride as she conld have desired, if not 
for a good deal of temper. Mrs. Dockett attempted a 
sympathetic manner with her, and if subsequent rumors 
were any indication, that redoubted champion did not 
come oif wholly unscathed. 

'* The little minx has got her mother's tongue," snifFed 
the offended lady. " Why, she actually snubbed me — 
me ! Think of her daring to tell me, when I was giving 
her to understand that we knew she was not responsible 
for any of the insulting things that had been said about 
us, that she always agreed with her mother and father in 
everything ! — Which I'll wager she doesn^'t, unless she's 
different from all the other girls I know ! And away she 
marched with her little mouth pursed up and her head 
held as high as Captain Allen's. She'll know when I try 
to be civil to her again ! She's getting her head turned 
because Captain Allen said she had some pretension to 
good looks." 

It must be said, though, on behalf of Mrs. Dockett, 
that after the first smart of the rebuff she had received 
was over, she liked Ruth none the less, and after a little 
while used to tell the story of Ruth's snubbing her, with 
a very humorous take-off of Miss Welch's air and of her 
own confusion. And long afterward she admitted that 
the first time she really liked Ruth Welch was when she 
resented her condescension. " It takes a good woman — or 
man either — to stand up to me, you know ! " she said, with 
a twinkle of pride and amusement in her bright eyes. 

Mrs. Dockett was not by any means the only one to 
whom the young lady showed her resentment. Ruth felt 
her isolation keenly, though she did not show this gen- 


erally, except in a new liautenr. She not only gave up 
visiting, and immersed herself in the home duties which 
devolved upon her in consequence of her mother's absorp- 
tion in her philanthropical work, hut she suddenly began 
to take a much deeper interest than ever before in that 
work itself, riding about and visiting the poor negroes in 
whom her mother was interested, and extending her visits 
to the jjoorer whites as well. She was surj^rised at the fre- 
quency with which she met Mrs. Gray and Blair, or, if she 
did not meet them, heard of their visits to the people 
she was attending. Once or twice she met Miss Thoma- 
sia, also, accompanied by old Peggy as her escort. " I 
heard that the fence was going to be put up between us 
and old Mrs. Granger," explained Miss Thomasia, " and I 
am such a poor hand at climbing fences, I am trying to 
see her as often as I can before it is done. I do hope the 
old woman will die before it is put up." She saw the 
astonished look on Euth^s face and laughed heartily. 
" You know what I mean, my dear, I am always getting 
things wrong. But, are you alone, my iear?" 

Ruth said she was alone. 

*^I don't think it quite right," said Miss Thomasia, 
shaking her head. " Steve, I am sure, would be very 
glad to accompany you on any of your visitations, and so 
would Jacquelin." She was perfectly innocent, but Ruth 
was incensed to find herself blushing violently. 

It happened that on these visitations, more than once, 
Ruth fell in with Captain Allen. She treated him with 
marked coldness — with actual savageness, Steve declared 
afterward, but at the time, it must be said, it appeared to 
have little apparent effect upon that gentleman. Indeed, it 
appeared simply to amuse him. He was " riding about on 
business," he explained to her. He seemed to have a great 
deal of business " to ride about on " of late. Ruth always 
declined, with much coolness, his request to be allowed to 
escort her, but her refusal did not seem to offend him, and 
he would turn up unexpectedly the next time she rode out 


alone, cheerfal and amnsed. (One singular thing was 
that she rarely saw him when she was accompanied by her 
father.) Still she did not stop riding. She did not see 
why she should give up her visits of j^hilanthropy, simply 
because Captain Allen also happened to have business to 
attend to. She began to be conscious that sometimes she 
even felt disappointed if on her rides she did not see him 
somewhere, and she hated herself for this, and took to dis- 
ciplining herself for it by riding on unfrequented roads. 
Yet even here, now and then. Captain Allen passed lier, 
and she began to feel as if he were in some sort doing it 
to protect her. On one occasion when he found her on a 
somewhat lonely road, he took her to task for riding so 
much alone, and told her that she ought not to do it. She 
was secretly pleased, but fired up at his manner. 

*' AVhy? " She looked him defiantly in the eyes. 

He appeared confused. 

" Why — because — Suppose you should lose your way, 
what would you do? " She saw that this was not his 

"I should ask someone," she answered, coolly. 

'•^ But whom would you ask? There is no one — except 
one old woman, my old Mammy Peggy Avho lives down in 
this direction — who lives anywhere between the old road 
that is now stopped up and the creek, and farther back is 
a through-cut to the Bend, which you crossed, along which 
some of the worst characters in the County travel. They 
do not come this side of the creek, for they are afraid ; 
I assure you that it is not safe for you to be riding about 
through the Avoods in this way at this time of the evening, 
by yourself." 

''Why, I see this path — someone must travel it?" Euth 
said. She knew that somewhere down in that direction 
was the old hospital-place, which the negroes said was 
haunted, and which was rumored to be the meeting-place 
of the Ku Klux. Steve looked a little confused. 

^'Yes r 


"And if uo one is clowu liere, there cannot any Inirm 
come to me." She enjoyed her triumph. 

** Yet — but you don't understand. People pass this 
way going backwards and forwards from — from the Bend — 
and elsewhere, and — " He broke off. "You must trust 
me and take my word for it," he said, firmly. " It is not 
right for you ; it is not safe." He was so earnest that 
Ruth could not help feeling the force of Avhat he said, and 
she was at heart secretly pleased, yet she resented his atti- 

"Whom should I be afraid of? Of the Ku Klux?" 
She was pleased to see him flush. But when he answered 
her he spoke seriously : 

" Miss Welch, there are uo Ku Klux here — there never 
were any — except once for a little while," he corrected 
himself, "and there is not one in the County or iii the 
South who would do you an injury, or with whom, if you 
were thrown, you would not be as safe as if you were 
guarded by a regiment." 

Eutli felt that he was telling the truth, and she was con- 
scious of the effect he had on her. Yet she rebelled, and 
she could not resist firing a shot at him. 

" Thank you," she said, mockingly. " I am relieved to 
know they will not murder ladies." Steve flushed hotly, 
and, before he could answer, she pressed her advantage 
with delight. 

" Could you not persuade them to extend their clem- 
ency to other j^oor defenceless creatures? Poor negroes, 
for example ? You say there never were any Ku Klux in 
this County ; how about that night when the State militia 
were raided and their arms taken from them, and when 
poor defenceless women were frightened to death. Were 
the men who did that really ghosts?" 

She looked at Steve and was struck with a pang that 
she should have allowed herself to be carried so far. She 
had meant only to sting him and revenge herself, but she 
had struck deeper than she had intended. The look on 


Steve's face really awed her, and when he spoke the tone 
in his voice was different from any she had ever heard 
in it. 

'* Miss Welch, I did not say there had never been any 
Kn Klnx in this County — you misunderstood me. I said 
there had never been any but once, I myself organized a 
band of Ku Klux regulators — 'a den/ as we called it, in 
this County — and we made one raid — the raid yon speak 
of, Avhen we took the arms from the negroes. I led that 
raid. I organized it and led it, because I deemed it abso- 
lutely necessary for our protection at the time — for our 
salvation. No one was seriously hurt — no women were 
frightened to death, as you say. It is true that some wom- 
en were frightened, and, no doubt, frightened badly, at 
the pranks played that night. We meant to frighten the 
men ; if necessary we should have killed them — the lead- 
ers — but never to frighten the women. Under the excite- 
ment of such an occasion, where there were hundreds of 
young men, some full of fun, others wild and reckless, 
some unauthorized acts were committed. It had been at- 
tempted to guard against them, but some men overstepped 
the bounds and there were undoubtedly unjustifiable acts 
committed under cover of the disguise adopted. But no 
lives were taken and no great violence was done. The 
reports you have heard of it were untrue. I give you my 
word of honor as to this. That is the only time there has 
been a raid by Ku Klux in this County — and the only time 
there will be one. AVe accomjilished our purpose, and we 
proved what we could do. The effect was salutary. But 
I found that the blackguards and sneaks could take ad- 
vantage of the disguise, and under the disguise wreak tlieir 
private spite, and by common consent the den was dis- 
banded soon after that night. There have been ruffianly 
acts committed since that time by men disguised as Ku 
Klux ; but not one of the men who were in that raid, so 
far as I know, was concerned in them or has ever worn 
the disguise since then. They have sworn solemnly not 


to do so. At least only one — 1 am not sure as to one/' he 
said, almost in reverie ; " but he is an outsider. The place 
where they met is the old plantation down here on the 
river ; this path leads to it, and at the top of the next hill 
I can show you the house. It is only a ruin, and was se- 
lected by me because the stories connected with it pro- 
tected it from the curiosity of the negroes, and in case of 
invasion the woods around, with their paths, furnished a 
ready means of escape. 

" I have told you the whole story and told you the truth 
absolutely, and I hope you will do me the honor to be- 
lieve me." His manner and voice were so grave that Euth 
had long lost all her resentment. 

" I do," she said, "and I beg your pardon for what I 

He bowed. They had reached the crest of the hill. 

*' There is the house." He held a bough aside and in- 
dicated a large rambling mansion below them, almost con- 
cealed on one side by the dense growth, while the other side 
appeared to be simply a ruin. It lay in a cleft between 
two wooded hills around the base of which ran the river, 
and seemed as desolate a place as Euth had ever seen. 

*' My showing it to you is a proof that 'the den' is 
broken up. ISTow we will go back." 

"I did not need it," she said, ''and I will never tell 
anyone that I have ever seen it." 

To this Captain Allen made no response. 

"I must see you safely back to the main road," he said, 

Euth felt that she had struck him deeply, and as tliey 
rode along she cast about in her mind for some way to 
lead up to an explanation. It did not come, however, and 
at the main road, when her gate was in sight. Captain Allen 
pulled in his horse and lifted his hat. 

" Good-by." 

" Good-evening. I will think of what you said," she be- 
gan, meaning what he had said about her riding out alone. 


" I wonld at least like you to think of me as a gentle- 
man." He bowed gravely, and lifting his hat again, 
turned and rode slowly away. 

Euth rode home, her mind filled with conflicting emo- 
tions. Among them was anger, first with herself and af- 
terward with Captain Allen. 

Miss Welch, on her arrival at home that evening, was in 
a singular frame of mind, and was as nearly at war with 
everyone as it is possible for a really sweet-temioered girl 
to be. Dr. Washington Still had called in her absence 
and proffered his professional services for any of her pa- 
tients. She broke out against him vehemently, and when 
her mother, who was in a mollified state of mind toward the 
young man, undertook to defend him, Ruth attacked the 
whole Still family — and connections — except Virgy, whom 
she admitted to be a j)oor little kind-hearted thing, and 
shocked her mother by denouncing warmly the stories of 
the Ku Klux outrages and declaring openly that she did 
not believe there had ever been any Ku Klux in the 
County, except on the one occasion when they had dis- 
armed the negro militia — and that she thought they 
had done exactly right, and just what she would have had 
them do. 

Mrs. Welch was too much shocked to do anything but 

" Oh ! Ruth, Ruth," she groaned. " That ever my daugh- 
ter should say such things ! " But Miss Ruth was too ex- 
cited for control just then. She launched out yet more 
warmly and shocked her mother by yet more heretical 
views, until suddenly, moved by her mother's real pain, 
she flung herself into her arms in a passion of remorse and 
tears, and declared that she did not mean half of what 
she had said, but was a wicked, bad girl who did not ap- 
preciate the best and kindest of mothers. 

A few days afterAvard, the man known as the trick-doc- 
tor, who called himself " Doctor Moses," came to Major 
Welch's and told a pitiful story of an old woman's j^overty. 


Mrs. Welch gave him some sugar, coffee, aud other things 
fur her, but he asked the ladies to go and see her. She 
lived "all by herself, mostly, and hones to see the good 
white folks," he said. 

*' Ef my young Mistis would be so kind as to go and 
see her some evenin' I will show her de way." He looked 
at Ruth, with a low bow and that smile and uneasy look 
which always reminded her of a hyena in a cage. 

They promised to go immediately, and he undertook to 
describe the road to them. 

It was too bad to drive a carriage over — you had to ride 
on horseback ; but his young Mistress would find it, she 
was such a good rider. 

Euth could never bear the sight of the negro ; he was 
the most repulsive creature to her that she had ever seen. 
Yet it hajipened, that from his description of the place 
where the old woman lived and of the road that led there, 
she was sure it was the same old woman whom CajDtain 
Allen had mentioned to her, that afternoon, as having been 
his mammy, and as the one person who lived on the de- 
serted plantation. And this, or some other reason — for the 
writer by no means wishes to be positive in assigning a 
woman's reason — determined Euth to go and see her. She 
had expected her father to accompany her, as he frequently 
did so, but it happened that day that he was called away 
from home, and as her mother received another urgent call 
that morning to go and see a sick child, Euth had either to 
postpone her visit or go alone. She chose the latter alter- 
native, and as soon as the afternoon had cooled a little, she 
started off on horseback. 

Ever since her interview with Captain Allen, she had 
been chafing under the sense of obeying his command that 
she should not ride through the woods alone. It was less 
a request than a command he had given her. She had not 
ridden out alone since that evening — at least, she had not 
ridden through the wood-roads ; she had stuck to the high- 
Wiiys, and she felt a sense of resentment that she had done 


SO. What right had Captain Allen to issue orders to her ? 
She would now show him that they had no effect on her. 
She would not only go against his wishes, but would go to 
the very place he had especially cautioned her against. She 
would see that old woman who had once belonged to him, 
and perhaps the old woman would some time tell him she 
had been there. 

Eutli had no difficulty in finding her way. She knew the 
road well as far as the j)oint where the disused road led 
off from the highway, -and she had a good idea of direc- 
tion. There she turned into the track that took her down 
toward the abandoned plantation, and crossed the zigzag 
patli that she knew cut through the pines and led down 
to the Bend. She remembered Captain Allen's pointing it 
out to her that afternoon, and as she approached the path 
she galloped her horse rapidly, conscious of a feeling of 
exhilaration as she neared it. A quarter of a mile farther 
on, the thought occurred to her that it was cowardice to 
ride rapidly. Why should she do so ? And though there 
was a cloud rising in the west, she pulled her horse down 
to a walk. The woods were beautiful and were filled with 
the odors of grape-blossoms ; the path Avas descending, 
which assured her that she was on the right track. A lit- 
tle farther on, as it had been described to her, it should 
cross a stream ; so she was pleased to see below iier, at 
the bottom of a little ravine, the thicket through Avhich the 
stream ran. She rode down into the ravine and to the 
stream. To her surprise the path appeared suddenly to 
stop at the water's edge. There was no outlet on the other 
side ; simply a wall of bushes. Suddenly her horse threw 
up his head and started violently. At the same moment a 
slight noise behind her attracted Euth's attention. She 
turned, and in the path behind her stood the negro, Moses. 

The blood deserted Ruth's face. He had always made 
her flesh creep, as if he had been a reptile. She had often 
found him on the side of the road as she passed along, or 
had turned and seen him come out of the woods behind 


lier, but she had never been so close to him before when 
alone. And now to find herself face to face with him in 
that lonely place made her heart almost stop. After re- 
garding her for a moment silently, the negro began to 
move slowly forward, bowing and halting with that peculiar 
limp which always reminded Kuth of a species of worm. 
She would have fled ; but she saw in an instant that there 
was no way of escape. The bushes on either side were like 
a wall. The same idea must have passed through the man's 
mind. A curious smirk was on his evil face. 

" My Mistis," he said, with a grin that showed his yel- 
low teeth and horrid gums. 

" The path seems to end here," said Ruth, with an effort 
commanding her voice. 

" Yes, my Mistis ; but I will show you de way. Old 
Moses will show you de way. He-he-he." His voice had 
a singular feline quality in it. It made Ruth's blood run 

" No — thank you — I can find it — I shall go back up here 
and look for it." She urged her horse back up the path to 
pass him. But the negro stepped before the horse and 
blocked the way. 

" Nor'm — dat ain't de way. I'll show you de way. Jes' 
let Doctor Moses show you." He gave his snicker again, 
moved closer and put his hand on her bridle. 

This act changed the girl's fear to anger. " Let go my 
bridle, instantly ! " Her voice rose suddenly. The tone 
of command took the negro by surprise and he dropped his 
hand ; the next second, however, he caught her bridle 
again, so roughly that her horse reared and started back, 
and if Ruth had not been a good rider she would have 
fallen from the saddle. 

" I'm givine to show you." His tone was now different. 
He clung to the bridle of the frightened horse. His counte- 
nance had changed. 

Raising her riding-whip, Ruth struck him with all her 
might across the face. 


" Let go ray bridle ! " she cried. 

He gave a snarl of rage and sprang at her like a wild 
beast ; but her horse whirled and slung him from his feet 
and he missed her, only tearing her skirt. It seemed to 
Euth at that moment that she heard the sound of a horse 
galloping somewhere, and she gave a scream. It was an- 
swered instantly by a shout back over the hill on the path 
along which she had come, and the next moment was heard 
the swift rush of a horse tearing along on the muffled 
wood-path back in the woods. 

The negro caught the sound, as he turned to seize Ruth's 
bridle again, stopj)ed short and listened intently, then, sud- 
denly wheeling, plunged into the bushes and went crashing 
away. That same instant, the horseman dashed over the 
crest of the hill and came rushing down the path, scatter- 
ing the stones before him. And before Euth could take it 
in, Steve Allen, his face whiter than she had ever seen it, 
was at her side. 

" What is it ? Who .was it ? " he asked. 

"Nothing. Oh! He frightened me so, '^ she panted. 

" Who ?" His voice was imperious. 

" That negro." 

''What negro ?" 

."The one they call Moses — Doctor Moses." 

The look that came into Steve's face was for a second 
almost terrifying. The next moment, with an effort, he 
controlled himself. 

" Oh ! it was nothing," he said, lightly. " He is an im- 
pudent dog, and must be taught manners ; but don't be 
friglitened. No one shall hurt you." His voice had sud- 
denly grown gentle and soothing, and he led Euth from 
the subject, talking lightly, and calming her. 

" I told you not to come here alone, you know ? " he said, 

His manner reassured Euth, and she almost smiled as 
she said : 

" I thought that was a woman's revenge." 


" I did not mean it for revenge ; but I want you to prom- 
ise me now you will never do it again. Or if you will not 
promise me, I want you to promise yourself." 

" I will promise you," said Ruth. She went on to ex- 
plain why she came. 

" The old woman you speak of wants nothing/' he said, 
*' and you have passed the path that leads to her house. 
That negro misled — you did not take the right road to 
reach her place. You should have turned off, some dis- 
tance back. It was a mere chance — simple Providence, 
that I came this way and saw your track and followed you. 
If you wish to see my old Mammy I will show you the way. 
It is the nearest house, and the only one we can reach 
before that storm comes, and we shall have to hurry even to 
get there." 

Euth looked over her shoulder, and was frightened at 
the blackness of the cloud that had gathered. There was 
a dense stillness, and the air was murky and hot. Almost 
at the moment she looked, a streak of flame darted from the 
cloud and a terrific peal of thunder followed immediately, 
showing that the storm was close on them. 

" Come," he said, and, catching her bridle. Captain 
Allen headed her horse np the hill. " Mind the bushes. 
Keej) him well in hand ; but put him out." 

Euth urged the horse, and gave him the rein, and they 
dashed up the hill, Steve close at her horse's flank. It 
was to be a close graze, even if they escaped at all ; for the 
rising wind, coming in a strong blast, was beginning to 
rush through the woods, making the trees bend and creak. 
The bushes swept past her, and dragged Euth's hat froux her 
head. " Keep on ! I'll get it !" called Steve, and leaning 
from his saddle he picked it from the ground, and in a 
moment was np with her again. The thunder was begin- 
ning to crash just above their heads, and as they dashed 
along, the air was filled with flying leaves and small boughs, 
and big drops were beginning to spatter on them as if 
driven from a gun. Euth heard Steve's voice, but could 


not, in the roar of tlie wind, tell what he said. The next 
instant he was beside her, his hand outstretched to steady 
her horse. She could not distinguish his words ; but saw 
that he meant her to pull in, and she did so. The next 
second they were at a path which led oil at an angle from 
that they were on. Steve turned her horse into it, and a 
moment later there appeared a small clearing, on the other 
side of which was an old cabin. That instant, however, 
the cloud burst upon them, and the rain came in a sheet. 
Before Kuth could stop her horse at the door, Steve was on 
the ground and had lifted her down as if she had been a 

'^Run in," he said, and it never occurred to her to op- 
pose him. Holding both horses with one hand, Steve 
reached across and pushed open the door, and put her in. 
An old negro woman, the only occupant, was facing hei-. 
Jnst as she had risen from her chair by the fire, her small 
black eyes wide with surprise at the unexj)ected entrance. 
The next moment she advanced toward Ruth. 
" Come in, Mistis. Is you wet ? " she asked. 

" Thank you — why, yes — I am rather — But " Ruth 

turned to the door. She was thinking of her companion, 
who was still out in the storm that was driving against the 

" Yes, to be sho' you is. I'll shet de do'." The old ne 
gress moved to push it closer to. 

'' No, don't ! " cried Ruth. " He is out there." 
" Who ? Don't you go out dyah, Mistis." 
She restrained Ruth, who was about to go out again. 
But.the door was pushed open from the outside, and Steve, 
dripping wet, with a pile of broken j)ieces of old rails in 
his arms and Ruth's saddle in his hand, came in. 

" Marse Steve ! My chile ! Fo de L— d ! " exclaimed the 
old woman. " Ain't you mighty wet ? " She had left Ruth, 
and was feeling Steve's arms and back. 

" "Wet ? No, I'm as dry as a bone," laughed Steve. 
" Here — make up a good fire." He threw the wood on the 


hearth and began to pile it on the fire, which had been al- 
most extinguished by the rain that came down the big 
chimney. "Dry that young lady. I've got to go out!" 
He turned to the door again. 

" No — please ! You must not go out ! " cried Kuth, 
taking a step toward him. 

'' I have to go to see after the horses. I must fasten 

" Please don't. They are all right, I don't want you to 
go ! " She faced him boldly. " Please don't, for my sake ! " 
she pleaded. 

Steve hesitated, and looked about him. 

" I shall be wretched if you go out." Her face and voice 
proved the truth of her assertion. 

"1 must go. I am already soaking wet ; but I'll come 
back directly." His voice was cheerful, and before Ruth 
could beg him again, with a sign to the old woman he was 
gone, and had pulled the door close to behind him. 

" Heah, he say I is to dry you," said the old Mammy, 
and she set a chair before the fire and gently but firmly 
put Ruth in it, and proceeded to feel her shoes and clothing. 
"Dat's my young master — my chile," she said, with j^ride, 
and in answer to Ruth's expostulations. " You're 'bliged 
to do what he say, you know. He'll be back torectly." 

Ruth felt that the only way to induce Captain Allen to 
come in out of the storm was to get dried as quickly as pos- 
sible ; so she set to work to help the old woman. Steve did 
not come back directly, however, nor for some time, and 
not until Ruth sent him word that she was dry, and he 
must come in or she would go out. Then he entered, laugh- 
ing at the idea that a rain meant anything to him. 

" Why, I am an old soldier. I have slept in such a rain 
as that, night after night, and as soundly as a baby. I en- 
joy it." His face, as he looked at Ruth sitting before the 
fire, showed that he enjoyed something. And as tlie girl sat 
there, her long hair down, her eyes filled with solicitude, 
and the bright firelight from the blazing, resinous pine 


shining on her and lighting up the dingy little room, she 
made a picture to enjoy. 

Old Peggy, bending over her and ministering to her with 
pleased officiousness, caught something of the feeling. A 
gleam of shrewdness had come into her sharp, black eyes. 

" Marse Steve, is dis your lady ?" she asked, suddenly, 
with an admiring look at Ruth, whose cheeks flamed. 

"No — not — " Steve did not finish the sentence. ''What 
made you think so ? " He looked very pleased. 

" She so consarned about you. She certainly is jDretty," 
she said, simply. 

Ruth was blushing violently, and Steve said : 

"Fm not good enough, Mammy, for any lady." 

" Go ^vay, Marse Steve ! You know you good ^nough 
for anybody. Don't you b'lieve him, young Mistis. I 
belt him in dese arms when he wa' n't so big ; " she meas- 
ured a length hardly above a span, " and I knows." 

Ruth thought so too just then, but she did not know 
what to say. Fortunately Steve came to her rescue. 

" Mammy, you're the only woman in the world tliat 
thinks tliat." 

" I know better 'n dat ! " declared the old woman, em- 
phatically. ''You does too, don't you, my Mistis ?" At 
which Ruth stammered, "Why, yes," and only blushed 
the more. She looked so really distressed that Steve said : 

" Come, Mammy, you mustn't embarrass your young 

" Nor, indeed — dat I won't. But you see dyah, you 
done call her my young Mistis ! " laughed the old woman, 
enjoying hugely the confusion of both her visitors. 

It was time to go, Steve said. So as the storm had passed, 
they came out and he saddled Ruth's horse and handed 
her into the saddle. He spoke a few words to the old 
woman, to which she gave a quick affirmative reply. As 
they rode off, she said, " You mus' come again," which 
both of them promised and doubtless intended to do. 

The woods were sparkling with the raindrops, and the 


sky was as if it had just been newly washed and burnished, 
and the earth was covered with water which shone in the 
light of the setting sun, like pools of crystal. 

Steve bade Miss Welch good-by at her gate. He had 
scarcely gotten out of sight of her when he changed his 
easy canter to a long gallop, and a look of grim determi- 
nation deepened on his face. At the first byway he turned 
oil from the main-road and made his way by bridle-paths 
back to the point where he had rescued Miss Welch. 
Here he tied his horse and began to examine the bushes 
carefully. He was able at first to follow the track that 
the negro had made in his flight ; but after a little distance 
it became more difficult. The storm had obliterated the 
traces. So Steve returned to the point where he had left 
his horse, remounted and rode away. He visited Andy 
Stamper's and several other plantations, at all of which he 
stopped, but only for a few moments to speak a word or 
two to the men at each, and then galloped on to the next, 
his face still grim and his voice intense with determination. 

That night a small band of horsemen rode through the 
Bend, visiting house after house. They asked for Moses, 
the trick-doctor. But Moses was not there. He had left 
early the morning before, their informants said, and had 
not been back since. There was no doubt as to the truth 
of this. There was something about that body of horse- 
men, small though it was, riding in pairs, that impressed 
whomever they accosted, and it was evident that their in- 
formants meant to tell the truth. If, on the first sum- 
mons at a door, the inmates peered out curious and loud- 
mouthed, they quieted down at the first glance at the 
silent horsemen outside. 

"What you want with him ?" asked one of the men, 
inquisitively. Almost instantly, as if by machinery, two 
horsemen moved silently in behind him and cut him out 
from the group behind. " You know where he is ? 
Come along." Their hands were on his collar. 

" Nor, suh, b'fo' Gord I don't, gentmens," protested the 


negro, almost paralyzed with fright. *'I didn't mean 
nuttin' in the worl', gentmens.'^ 

At a sign from the leader he was released, and was glad 
to slip back into obscnrity behind the rest of the awe- 
struck group, till the horsemen rode on. 

It was, no doubt, well for the trick-doctor that his 
shrewdness had kept him from his accustomed haunts that 
night. He visited the Bend secretly a night or two later ; 
but only for a short time, and before morning broke he 
was far away, following the woodland paths, moving at his 
swift, halting pace, which hour by hour was placing miles 
between him and the danger he had discovered. Thus the 
County for a time, at least, was rid of his presence, and 
both white and blacks breathed freer. 



The bill in Jacquelin^s suit against Mr. Still was not filed 
for some time after the notice was sent and the suit insti- 
tuted. But this period was utilized by Steve and Jacque- 
lin in hunting up evidence ; and by Mr. Still in holding con- 
ferences with Leech and the officers of the court. Mean- 
while Steve Allen had met the Welches several times, and 
although there was a perceptible coolness in their manner 
to him, yet civilities were kept up. As for Steve himself, he 
went on just as he had done before, ignoring the change 
and apparently perfectly oblivious of the chilliness with 
which he was received. 

Yet Steve appeared to have changed. His old cheerful- 
ness and Joviality seemed to have gone, and he was often 
in a state bordering on gloom. As, however, most of those 
in that part of the world were at this time in a state of 
actual gloom, Steve's condition was set down to the gen- 
eral cause. Occasionally it occurred to Jacquelin that 
some trouble with Blair Gary might have a part in it. His 
Aunt Thomasia's words had stuck in his memory. Steve 
did not go to Dr. Gary's as often as he used to go ; and 
when he did go, on his return to the Court-house he was 
almost always in one of his fits of depression. Jacquelin 
set it down to another exhibition of Blair's habitual capri- 
ciousness. It was that Yankee Captain that stood in the 
way. And Jacquelin hardened his heart, and vowed to 
himself that he would not see Blair again. 

At length the bill in Jacquelin's suit was ready. 


It was at the end of a hard day's work that Jacquelin 
had put the finishing touches to it, and as he com- 
pleted the copy from a draft that Steve had made, he 
handed it across to Steve to read over. It was a bill to 
reopen, on the ground of fraud, the old suit in which Still 
had become the purchaser of Red Rock, and to set aside 
tlie conveyance to him and the subsequent conveyance of 
a part of his purchase to Major Welch. It went somewhat 
into a history of the confidential relation that Still had 
borne to Jacquelin's and Rupert's father ; charged that 
Still's possession of the bonds was fraudulent, and that 
even, if not so, the bonds had been discharged by pro- 
ceeds of the estate that had come to the steward's hands. 
It charged Still with gross fraud in his accounts, as well 
as in the possession of tlie bonds. It ended by making 
Major Welch a party, as a subsequent purchaser, and 
charged constructive knowledge on his part of Still's 
fraud. Actual knowledge of this by him was expressly 
disclaimed, but it was stated that he had knowledge of 
facts which should have put him on inquiry. It was 
alleged that a formal notice had been served on Major 
Welch before he became the purchaser, and it asked that 
"an issue out of chancery," as the lawyers term it, might 
be awarded to try the question of fraud. 

When Steve finished reading the paper, he laid it on his 
desk and leaned back in his chair, his eyes fixed on the 
ceiling, in deej) thought. Jacquelin did not disturb him ; 
but watched him in silence as the expression on his face 
deepened into one almost of gloom. Presently Steve 

" Well, is that all ? " asked Jacquelin. 

"Yes." He actually sighed. 

" You don't think it will hold ? " 

" No. I am sure we shall show fraud — on that rascal's 
part — at least, so far as his accounts are concerned. AVe 
have followed up some of his rascality, and I am equally 
sure that his possession of the big bond was fraudulent. 


Yonr father never owed him all that money, iu the world ; 
but how did he get hold of it ? The man in the South 
in whose name it was made out is dead, and all his papers 
burned. Still turns up with the bond assigned to him, 
and says it was given him for negroes he sold. 'Now, how 
shall we meet it ? We know he made money negro-trading. 
Eupert's story of hearing the conversation with your father 
is too vague. He can't explain what your father meant 
by his reference to the Indian-killer, and his threats against 
Hiram will weaken his testimony. Hiram's afraid of him, 
though, and he'd better be. We'll have to send him away. 
He's with McKaffle too much." 

Jacquelin's face sobered, and he sighed. The thought 
of Rupert cost him many sighs these days. 

" I am not sure that we have been specific enough in our 
charges," Steve continued, "and I am sure the Judge will 
be against us. He has never gotten over the peeling I 
gave him when he first turned Rad, and he and Hiram are 
as thick as thieves." 

" Yes ; but, as you say, we'll get at something, and it is 
all we can do. I am willing to take the risk for Rupert, 
if not for myself. Will you sign as counsel ? And I'll 
go over to the office and file it. Mr. Dockett said he'd 
wait for us." 

Steve took the j^en and dipped it in the ink ; then again 
leaned back in his chair, and then, after a second's thought, 
sat up and signed the paper rapidly, and Jacquelin took it 
and went out. In a few minutes he returned. 

" Well, the Rubicon is crossed," he said, gaylj'. 

Steve did not answer. He was again leaning back in 
his chair, deep in thought, his eyes on the ceiling, his face 
graver than before. 

" Steve, don't bother about the thing any more. We've 
done the best we could, and if we fail we fail, that's all." 

But the other did not resi:)ond in the same vein. 

*' Yes, we've crossed the Rubicon," he said, with some- 
thing between a sigh and a yawn. 


"Steve, what's the matter ?" 

" Oh, nothing." 

"Yes, there is — tell mo." 

" Nothing — I assure yon, there's not." 

" And I know better. Confound it ! can't I see some- 
thing is going on that I don't understand ? You couldn'f. 
be gloomier if you had broken with — with your sweet- 

" Well, I have." Steve turned and looked out of the 
window to where the light in the clerk's office shone 
through the trees. 

" AVliat ! " Jacquelin was on his feet in a second. 

"Jack, I'm in love," 

"I know that. But what do you mean by — by — that 
you have broken with ?" 

"That I'm in love Avith Ruth Welch." He spoke 

"What — what do you mean?" Jacquelin's voice fal- 

" What I say — that I've been in love with her ever since 
I met her." He was still looking out of the window. 

"Steve !" Jacquelin's tone had changed and was full of 
deep reproach. As Steve was not looking at him and did 
not answer, he went on : " Steve, I don't understand. 
Does she know ? " His throat was dry and his voice hard. 

"I don't know " 

" Steve Allen !" The tone was such that Steve turned 
to look at him. 

" What's the matter with you ?" 

" That's what I have to ask you," said Jacquelin, sternly. 
"Are you crazy?" 

" I don't know whether lam or not," Steve said, half 
bitterly. "But that's the fact, anyhow." 

Jacquelin's face had paled, and his form was tense. 

" Steve, if anyone else had told me this of you, he'd not 
have stood to complete his sentence. I thought yon were 
a gentleman," he sneered. 


"Jucquelin Gray I" Steve sprang to his feet, and the 
two young men stood facing each other, their faces white 
and their eyes blazing. Jacquelin spoke first. 

" As Blair Gary has no brother to protect her, I will do 
it. I never thought it would have to be against you." 

" Blair Gary ? Protect her against me ? In God's 
name, what do you mean ?" 

"You know." 

''I swear I do not !" 

Jacquelin turned from him with a gesture of contempt ; 
but Steve seized him roughly. 

*'By Heaven ! you sli.ill tell me. I feel as if the earth 
were giving way before me." 

Jacquelin shook him off, but faced him, his whole ex- 
pression full of scorn. 

'' Haven't you been engaged to — engaged to — or as good 
as engaged to — or, at least, in love with Blair Gary for 
years ? " 

Steve gazed at him for a moment with a puzzled look 
on his face, Avhich gave place the next instant to one of 
inexpressible amusement, and then, with a shove which 
sent Jacquelin spinning across the room, flung himself 
into his chair and burst into a ringing laugh. 

" You fool I you blamed fool ! " he exclaimed. ** But 
I'm a fool, too," he said, standing and facing Jacquelin. 

" I think you are." Jacquelin was still grave. 

" Why, Blair knows it." 

"Knows what?" 

" Knows that I'm in love with Ruth "Welch. She di- 
vined it long ago and has been my con^dante." 

" What ! — Steve ! — " Tlie expression on Jacquelin's 
face underwent a dozen changes in as many seconds. As- 
tonishment, incredulity, memory, reflection, regret, hope 
— all were there, chasing each other and tumbling over one 
anotlier in wild confusion. " Steve," he began again in 
hopeless amazement, with a tone almost of entreaty, but 
stopped short. 


*' You donble-dyerl, blind idiot ! " exclaimed feteve, 
" Don't you know that Blair Gary don't care a button 
for me ? never has cared and never will care but for one 
man ? " 

"Middleton!" Jacquelin turned away with a fierce 

" No, you Jealous fool ! " 

*' Then, in Heaven's name, who is it ? " Jacquelin 
again faced him. 

''A blind idiot." 

The effect was not what Steve had anticipated. Jacquelin 
made a wild gesture of dissent, turned his back, and, walk- 
ing to the window, put liis forearm against the sash, aud 
leaned his forehead on it. 

" You don't know what you're talking about," he said, 

bitterly. " She hates me. She treats me like She 

has always done it since that cursed Middleton " 

" I don't s^iy she hasn't. I simply say she " Steve 

broke off. " She ought to have treated you badly. You 
made a fool of yourself, and have been a fool ever since. 
But I know she cared for you — before that, and if you had 
gone about it in the right way, you'd have won her." 
(Jacquelin groaned.) '^' Instead of that, you must get on 
a high horse and put on your high and mighty airs and 
try to liector a spirited girl like Blair Cary." (A groan 
from the window.) " Why, if I were to treat my horse as 
you did her, he'd break my neck." 

" Oh, Steve ! " 

" And then after she had tried to prove it to you, for you 
to go and put it on another's account, of course she kicked 
— and she ought to have done so, and has treated you 
coldly ever since." 

Jacquelin faced him. 

" Steve, I loved her so. I have loved her ever since I 
was a boy — ever since that day I made her jump off the 
barn. It was what kept me alive in prison many a time 
when otherwise I'd liavo L'onc. And wlirn I came lionie. 


ready to go down on my knees to her — to die for her, to 

find her given to another, or, if not " He stopped 

and turned away again. 

** Then why didn't yontell her so, instead of outraging 
her feelings ? " demanded Steve. 

"Because — because I thought you loved her and she 

loved you, and I would not ! '"' He turned off and 

walked to the window. 

Steve rose and went up to him. 

" Jacquelin/' he said, putting his hand on his shoulder, 
and speaking with a new tenderness, " I never knew it — 
I never dreamed it. You have been blind, boy. And I 
have been worse. I was never in love with her and she 
knew it. At first, I simply meant to bedevil you, and — 
Middleton — and then afterward, used to tease her to see her 
let out about you ; but that was all. She has known ever 
since Ruth Welch came here that I liked her, and now — • 
that I have become a fool like the rest of you." He turned 

Jacquelin stood for a moment looking at him, a light 
dawning on his face. 

" Steve, I beg your pardon for what I said." He stood 
lost in thought. The next second he rushed out of the 
door. In a moment he was back, and held the bill he had 
just filed, in his hand. Steve rose as he entered. 

" What have you done ? " 

"I may be a fool — but — " He held up the bill and 
glancing at it, caught hold of the last sheet and began to 
tear it. Steve made a spring, but was too late ; Jacquelin 
had torn the signature from the paper. 

" Vm. not such a selfish dog as to let you do it and bar 
your chance of happiness. I did not know. Do you sup- 
pose Miss Welch would ever marry you if you signed that 
bill ? " 

" No. But do you suppose I will not tell her of my j^art 
in bringing the suit ? " 

" Of course you Avill — but she'll forgive you for that." 


It was late in the night before their disagreement was 

Steve insisted that he would sign the bill ; he had 
brought the suit and he would assume the responsibility 
for it. But he had met his match. Jacquelin was firm, 
and finally declared that if Steve still held to his decision 
he would not press the suit at all. Steve urged Eupert's 
interest. Jacquelin said Rupert would still have six 
months after he came of age, In which to save his rights. 
In this unexpected turn of the case, Steve was forced to 
yield ; and Jacquelin recopied the whole bill in his own 
hand and filed it the next morning. It was signed by 
Jacquelin and Rupert personally, and by General Legale 
as counsel. 

It created a sensation in at least two households in the 

When Still read the bill, he almost dropped to the floor. 
The attack was made on the ground of fraud, and Major 
Welch had said the statute of limitations did not apply. 
After a conference, however, with Leech, who happened to 
be at home, he felt better. Leech assured him that the 
bill would not hold good against his possession of the 

" They'll hold against all creation," said that counsellor, 
" if they weren't stolen and ain't been paid." 

This declaration did not seem to relieve Still much. 

"And they've got to prove both of 'em," added Major 
Leech, " and prove 'em before our judge." 

Still's face cleared up. 

" Well, Welch is obliged to stand by us. We'll go and 
see him." 

So, that evening they took a copy of the bill to Major 
Welch. Mrs. Welch and Miss Ruth both were in a state 
of great excitement and indignation. The idea of fraud 
being charged against Major Welch was an outrage that 
they could not tolerate. 

Major Welch alone was calm and unmoved. It was, after 


all, expressly stated that no actual fraud was attributed to 
him, and though, of course, he felt keenly having his' name 
mixed up with such a matter, he had no anxiety as to the 
result. He could readily prove that he had had no knowl- 
edge whatever of anything to arouse the slightest suspicion. 
He should, of course, have to employ counsel. H^ began 
to canvass their names. 

" Papa, why don't you get Mr. Allen to represent you ?• 
They say he is the best lawyer in this part of ihe country," 
said Ruth. She was conscious that her color pam^ as Still 
quickly looked at her. 

" He's the one that started the whole matter, ma'am." 

" Why, I don't see his name to the bill ! " the Major 

" Ain't it ? Well, anyhow he's the main one. If it 
hadn't been for him the suit never would 'a' been brought. 
Colonel Leech saw a copy of the bill in his hand-writing in 
his office this morning, didn' you. Colonel ?" 

Leech declared that he had seen the copy, and corrob- 
orated his client in his statement that Captain Allen had 
inspired the suit. 

Mrs. Welch gave an exclamation of indignation. 

" Well, I did not think he would have played the 
sneak ! " 

Euth's face flamed and turned white by turns. 

" You don't know him yet," said Still, plaintively, 
" Does she. Colonel ? " 

" No — he's a bad man," said Leech, unctuously. 

*' He is that," said Still. He dropped his voice. " You 
look out for him. Major. He's after you. If I was you 
I'd carry a pistol pretty handy." Major Welch gave a 
gesture of impatience. 

Euth's eyes flashed a sudden gleam, and her face flamed 
again. She rose, walked to the window, and pressed deep 
in between the curtains. Still addressed himself to Major 

" The Colonel says 'tain't goin' to be any trouble to beat 


the suit ; that he can git it dismissed on demurrer — if 
that's' the word ? You know I ain't any book-learnin' — 
I'm nothin' but a plain farmer. And he says the judge is 
sure to " 

" Yes — that's it," said Leech, quickly, with a glance of 
warning at him. '' I don't cross a bridge till I get to it ; 
I've got several in this case, but, as Mr. Bagby says, I be- 
lieve in making every defence." 

" That may be so ; -but I'm going to fight this case on 
its merits," declared Major Welch, firmly. " I don't pro- 
pose, when a question of fraud is raised, to shelter myself 
behind any technicalities. I mean to make it as clear as 
day that I had no connection with any fraud. I spoke to 
Mr. Bagby when the rumor of a suit was first started, and 
told him so." Though he spoke quietly his voice had a 
ring in it and his face a light on it which made both Mrs. 
Welch and Kutli proud of him, and Ruth squeezed her 
mother's arm, in her joy. How different he looked from 
those other men ! 

Meantime the change in Steve Allen was perceptible to 
many who had no idea of the true reason it was so. 

Jacquelin set it down to the wrong cause. Miss Tho- 
masia, like Jacquelin, laid Steve's desj^ondency at Blair's 
door, and the good lady cast about in her mind how she 
might draw Blair into a discussion of the subject and give 
her some affectionate advice. But as often as she touched 
on the subject of love, even in the most distant way, bring- 
ing in Jacquelin as a sort of introduction, Blair shied off 
from it, so that Miss Thomasia found it more difficult to 
accomplish than she had anticijoated. 

Steve, however, was working on his own lines. His 
present situation was intolerable to him. The fact that 
his name had not appeared on Jacquelin's bill stuck in his 
memory like a thorn. He was lying on the grass under a 
tree in the court-green one afternoon reading a book, not 
a law-book either, when the sound of horses' feet caught 
his ear. He looked up lazily as it came nearer, and soon in 


view ajjpeared two riders, a girl and a young man. They 
cantered easily along the little street, their laughter com- 
ing across to Steve where he lay, his book neglected on the 
ground beside liim. Steve stretched, and picking up his 
book dived once more into the *' Idylls of the King." But 
the spell was broken. A line from Dante flashed through 
his mind. Launcelot and Guinevere ; Tristram and Isolt ; 
Geraint and Enid, interested him no more. The reality 
had passed before him. Resting his head against the tree, 
he tried to go to sleep ; but the minute denizens about in 
the grass bothered him, the droning of bees in the locust 
boughs above failed to lull him. 

*• ' I am half sick of shadows,'" he murmured to himself, 
and he sat up and, resting against the tree, thought deeply. 
Another line came to him : 

"On l>iirnisihed hooves bis war-horse trode." 

He suddenly sprang to his feet and walked straight to 
his office, his face resolute and his step determined. He 
was not a girl to be caught in a mesh ! He would be the 
other. Jacqnelin was at his desk, deep in a big law-book. 
Steve shut the door behind him and stood with his back 
against it looking down at his partner. 

" Jacqnelin, I am going to marry Ruth Welch." 

"What!" Jacquelin looked up in blank amazement. 
" Oh ! " he laughed. " I thought you meant you had 
asked her." 

" You misunderstand me. It is not conceit. It is de- 
termination. I have no idea she Avill accept me now ; but 
she will in the end. She shall, I will win her." He was 
grave, and though his words spoke conceit, his voice and 
face had not a trace of it. Jacquelin too became grave. 

" I believe you can win her if you try, Steve — unless 
someone else is in the way ; but it is a long chase, I warn 
you." Steve's brow clouded for a second, but the shadow 
disappeared as quickly as it came. 

" You don't think there's anything in that story about 

370 RKD. MOCK 

Wash Still ? " His toue had a certain liery contempt in 
it. "I tell you there isn't. I'll stake my salvation on 
that. An eagle does not mate with a weasel ! " 

" No — I do not believe she would, but how about her 
mother ? You know what she thinks of us, and what they 
say of her missionary ideas, and Wash Still has been play- 
ing assiduously on that string of late. He is visiting all 
her sick, free — he says. Besides they have not the same 
ideas that we have about family and so on, and they don't 
know the Stills as we do." 

" N"ot pride of family! You don't know her. She's 
one of the proudest people in the United States, of her 
family. I tell you she could give General Legaie six in 
the game and beat him. By Jove ! I wish one could do 
the old-fashioned way. I'd just ride up and storm the 
stronghold and carry her off ! " burst out Steve, straight- 
ening up and stretching out his arms, half in Jest, half in 
earnest, his eyes flashing and his color rising at the thought. 

" Now you have to storm the stronghold all the same, 
without carrying her off," Jacquelin laughed. 

*' No, I'll carry her away some day," asseverated Steve, 
confidently. " It's worth all my worthless life and a good 
deal more too." 

" I think if you get into that spirit you may win her ; 
but I'm afraid they'll hardly recognize you in the role of 
humility. I doubt if they have heard much of you in that 
character. How are you going about it ? You have not 
seen her since the suit was brought, and I doubt if she 
will speak to you." 

" She will not ? I'll make her. Whether she sjDcaks or 
not, I'll win her." 

" There goes your robe of humility. You have to win 
her parents first — for you have to ask their permission." 

Steve relapsed into thought for a moment, during which 
Jacquelin watched him closely. 

" Do you think that's necessary ?" he asked, doubtfully, 
as if almost to himself. 


" I do, under the circumstances — for you ; not for Wash 

" The gorgon will refuse me " 

"Probably — All the same, you have to do it." 

Suddenly, with a sigh, Steve came out of his reverie as if 
he were emerging from a cloud. His countenance cleared 
up and he spoke with decision. 

" You are right. I knew you were right all the time. 
But I did not want to do it. I will, though. I'll do it if 
I lose her." He turned to go out. 

'•' When are you going to do it ? " 

" Eight now." In the presence of contest Steve's face 
had got back all its fire, his voice all its ring. 

" I believe you'll win her," said Jacquelin. 

" I know I shall, some day," said Steve. And a little 
later Jacquelin heard him in his room, whistling " Bonny 
Dundee," and calling to Jerry to saddle his horse. 

Major Welch was sitting on his veranda that afternoon 
about sunset when a rider came out of the woods far below, 
at a gallop, and continued to gallop all the way up the hill. 
There was something about a rapid gallop up hill and down 
that always bore Major Welch's mind back to the war. As 
the horseman came nearer, Major Welch recognized Captain 
Allen. He remembered the advice Still had recently given 
him, always to have a pistol handy when he met Allen. 
He put the thought away from him with almost a flash of 
shame that it should even have crossed his mind. Should 
he meet a man at his own door, with a weapon ? Not if he 
was shot down for it. So, as the rider approached. Major 
Welch walked down to meet him at the gate, just as Steve, 
dismounting, tied his horse. 

The young man's face was pale, his manner constrained, 
and he was manifestly laboring under more emotion than 
he usually showed. AV^ondering what could be the object 
of his call. Major Welch met him gravely. Steve held out 
his hand and the Major took it formally. At any rate the 
mission was peaceful. 


'' Major Welch, I have come to see you — " he began 
hesitatingly, his hat in his hand, and his face flushed. 

" Won't you walk up on the veranda and sit down ? " 
The Major did not mean to be outdone in civility. 

" Not until I have stated the object of my visit. Then, 
if you choose to invite me, I shall be very glad to accept." 
He had recovered his composure. 

The Major was more mystified. 

"I have come this evening for a purpose which, per- 
haps, will — no doubt will — surprise you." The Major 
looked affirmative, and wondered more and more what it 
could mean. 

"1 have come to ask your permission to pay my ad- 
dresses to your daughter." 

If the Major was expecting to be surprised, he was more 
than surprised ; he was dazed — he almost gasped. 

"What r' 

" I am not surjorised that you are astonished." The 
younger man, now that the ice was broken, was regaining 
his composure. ''It is, however, no sudden impulse on 
my part." How melodious his deep voice had grown ! 
Major Welch was sensible of the charm growing upon him 
that he had seen exercised in the case of others. 

"I have loved your daughter" — (his voice suddenly 
sank to a pitch as full of reverence as of softness) — "a 
long time ; perhaps not long in duration, but ever since I 
knew her. From that evening that I first met her liere, I 
have loved her." His glance stole toward the tree in which 
he had found Ruth that afternoon. *'If I can obtain your 
consent, and shall find favor in her eyes, I shall be the 
happiest and most blessed of men." He gave a deep sigh 
of relief. He stood suddenly before Major Welch a differ- 
ent being — modest and manly, not without recognition of 
his power, and yet not for a second presuming on it. 
Major Welch could not help being impressed by him. 
A wave of the old liking that he had had for him when he 
first met him came over him. 


''Does my daughter know of tliis?^' he asked. 

" I hardly know. I have never said anything of it to 
her directly, but I do not know how much a girl's instinct 
can read. My manner has seemed to myself always that of 
a suitor, and at times I have wondered how she could helj) 
reading the thoughts of my heart; they have seemed to 
me almost audible. Others have known it for some time ; 
at least one other has. 1 thought your daughter knew it. 
Yet now I cannot tell. She has never given me the slight- 
est encouragement." 

" I thought you were in love with — with someone else ; 
with your cousin, and her accepted lover ? Rumor has so 
stated it ? " The elder gentleman's manner cooled again as 
the thought recurred to him. 

Steve smiled. 

"■ Blair Gary ? I do love her — dearly — but only as an ad- 
mirer and older brother might. I am aware of the impres- 
sion that has existed, but her heart has long been given to 
another who has loved her from his boyhood. From cer- 
tain causes, which I need not trouble you with and which 
occurred before you arrived, differences grew up between 
them, and they became estranged ; but the affection re- 
mains. Jacquelin does not know it, but in time he will 
succeed, and it is one of my most cherished hopes that 
some time he will realize that great happiness in store for 
him. Meantime, I feel sure that you will consider what I 
have said of this as confidential. I have, perhaps, said 
more than I should have done." 

Major Welch bowed. " Of course I will. And now I 
wish to say that I am so much taken by surprise by what 
you have told me that I scarcely know just what answer to 
give you at this time. I appreciate the step you have 
taken. But it is so strange — so unexpected — that I must 
have time for reflection. I must consult my wife, who is 
my best adviser and our daughter's best guardian. And I 
can only say that we wish for nothing but our child's best 
and most lasting happiness. I cannot, of course, under 


the circumstances renew my invitation to you to come in." 
He paused and reflected. "Korean I hold out to you 
any hope. And I think I must ask you not to speak to 
my daughter on the subject until I have given my con- 

'''I promise you that," said Steve. "I should not have 
come to you at all unless I had been prepared to give that 

The young man evidently had something more that he 
wished to say ; he hesitated a moment and then began 

" One other thing I should tell you. I brought the 
suit for Jacquelin and Rupert Gray. Although my name 
was not signed to the bill, I brought the suit, and have the 

Major Welch could not help a graver look coming into 
his face — he felt almost grim, but he tried to choke down 
the sensation. 

"I was aware of that." 

"There is one word more I would like to say, but — not 
now — I should possibly be misunderstood. Perhaps the 
day may come — May I say in the meantime that I am 
not one who changes or is easily disheartened ? I know 
that even if I should secure your consent I should have to 
make the fight of my life to win your daughter — but I 
should do it. I think the prize well worth all, and far 
more than all I could give." 

He stood diffidently, as though not knowing whether 
Major Welch would take his hand if offered. The Major, 
however, made the advance and the two men shook hands 
ceremoniously and Steve mounted his horse and without 
looking back rode off, while Major Welch returned slowly 
to the house. The only glance Steve gave was one u]) 
toward the old cherry-tree in the yard. 

Mrs. Welch had seen Steve ride up and had watclied 
with curiosity and some anxiety the conference that had 
taken place at the gate. When the Major stated to her 


the object of Mr. Allen's visit she was too much surprised 
to speak. She, however, received the announcement some- 
what differently from tlie way the Major had expected. 
She was deeply offended. Without an instant's hesitation 
she was for despatching an immediate and indignant re- 

'' Of course, you at once refused him and told him what 
you thought of his effrontery ? " she said. 

" Well — no, I did not," said Major Welch. In fact, 
though the Major had been astonished by Steve's proposal 
and had supposed that it would be rejected, it had not oc- 
curred to him that his wife would take it in just this way. 

" You did not ! Oh, you men ! I wish he had spoken 
to me ! It was an opportunity I should not have lost. 
But he would not have dared to face me with his insult- 
ing proposal." 

" Well, I don't think he intended it as an insult, and 
without intention it cannot be an insult. I think if you 
had seen him you would have felt this." 

" Do you think I would entrust my daughter's happi- 
ness to a desperado and a midnight assassin ? " 

" No, I cannot say that I thought you would — nor 
would I. But I am not prejoared to say I think him 
either an assassin or a desperado." 

"Well, I am," asserted Mrs. Welch. "I was deceived 
in him once and I will not give him a chance again." 

" I simply told him that I would confer with you and 
give him our answer." 

"He will take that as encouragement," declared Mrs. 
Welch, " and will be pursuing Kuth and persecuting her." 

"No, he will not. He gave me his word that he would 
not speak to her without my — witliout our consent " 

" He will not keep it." Mrs. Welch's words were not as 
positive as her manner. 

" Yes, he will. I will stand sponsor." Major Welch 
was thinking of the young man as he had just stood before 

382 liKD KOCK 

" Well, I am glad you extracted that much of a pledge 
from him. He will not get my consent in this life, I can 
assure him." 

" Nor mine without yours and Ruth's," said Major 
Welch, gravely. ''I will write him and tell him what you 
say. Shall I mention it to Ruth ? " 

" No, of course not." 

Major Welch did not see why it should be "of course " ; 
but he considered that his wife knew more of such things 
than he did, and he accordingly accepted her opinion 
without question. 

" Where is Ruth ? '' he asked. 

" She went with Dr. Still to see a sick woman he wanted 
me to see. I was not able to go this afternoon when he 
called, so I sent her. I don't think there is much the 
matter with her." 

Major Welch sat for a moment in deep reflection. He 
was evidently puzzled. Suddenly he broke the silence. 

" Prudence, you don't mean that you wisli that — that 
you think that young fellow is a suitable — ah — companion 
for our daughter ? " That was not the word Major Welch 

" William ! " exclaimed Mrs. Welch. She said no more, 
and it was not necessary. Major Welch felt that he had 
committed "a great mistake — a terrible blunder. A mo- 
ment before, he had had the best of the situation, and he 
had been conscious of a feeling of somewhat exalted 
virtue ; now he had thrown it away. He felt very foolish, 
and though he hoped he did not show it, he did show it 
plainly. He began to defend himself : a further blunder. 

" Well, my dear, how could I know ? That young fel- 
low has been coming over here day after day, with his 
horses and buggies, on one pretext or another — tagging 
after— not after you or me certainly — and you are as civil 
to him as if he were the — the President himself, and 
actually send the child off with him " 

" William ! Send the child off with him !— I !" 


" Well, 110 — not exactly that, of course," said her hus- 
band, rather embarrassed, "but permitting her to go, and 
thus giving him an opportunity to declare himself, which 
he would be a stick not to avail himself of." 

''I am glad yon retracted that, William," said Mrs. 
Welch, with the air of one deeply aggrieved. '' Of course, 
I am civil to the young man. I hope I am civil to every- 
one. But you little know a mother's heart. I have always 
said that no man can understand a woman." 

"I believe that's so," said her husband, smiling. ''I 
know I have often heard your Royal Highness say so. But 
did it ever occur to you that it may be because men are 
somewhat direct and downright ? " 

" Now don't go and insult my sex to cover the density of 
yours," said Mrs. Welch. " Confine your attack to one. 
If you think that I would allow my daughter to marry 
that — that young upstart, you don't know me as well as 
you did the first da)' Ave met." 

" Oh, yes I do ! I know you well enough to know you 
are the best and most devoted wife and mother and friend 
in the world," declared her husband. "But, you see, I 
misunderstood you. I reason simply from the plain facts 
that lie right before my eyes " 

"And you always will misunderstand, my dear. Your 
sex always will misunderstand until they learn that woman 
is a more complex and finer organism that their clumsy, 
primary machine, moved by more delicate and complicated 

" Well, I agree to that," said her luisband. "And I am 
very glad to find you agree with me — that I agree with 
you — " he corrected, with a twinkle in his eye, "as to 
that young man." 

Mrs. Welch accepted his surrender with graciousness 
and left the room, and the Major sat down and wrote his 
reply to Captain Allen. 

He expressed his unfeigned appreciation of the honor 
done, but gave him to understand that after conference 

384 llED UOCK 

with Mrs. Welch they felt it their duty to state to him 
that his suit for their daughter would not be acceptable to 
them, and he requested him to consider the matter closed. 

As soon as he had finished the letter the Major de- 
spatched it to Mr. Allen by a messenger. 

He had hardly sent it off when Mrs. Welch returned. 
Her first question was whether the answer had gone. She 
was manifestly disappointed to learn that it had been sent. 

" I wish you had let me see it/' she said. 

" Oh ! I made it positive enough," declared the Major. 

''Yes, I was not thinking of that/' Mrs. Welch said, 
thoughtfully. " I was afraid you would be too — Men are 
so hasty — so up and down — they don't know how to deal 
with such matters as a woman would." 

Major Welch turned on her in blank amazement — a 
little humor lighting up his face. Mrs. Welch answered 
as if he had made a charge. 

"You men will never understand us." 

'' I believe that's so. You women are cui'ious, especially 
where your daughters are •concerned. I set the young man 
down pretty hard, just as you wished me to do." 

Mrs. Welch made a gesture of dissent. 

''Not at all — I have reflected on what you said about — 
about his not intending to be insulting, and I think you 
are right. I no more wish to accept his proposal now than 
before; all I want is to — ?" She made a gesture — "Oh ! 
you understand." 

"Yes, I think I do," laughed her husband. "Why 
cannot women let a man go ?" 



The revelation that Steve made to Jacqueliu in their 
law-office the night the bill was filed, seemed suddenly to 
have opened life again to Jacqnelin. Looking back over 
the past, he could now see how foolish he had been. Inci- 
dents which he had construed one way now, in the light of 
Steve's disclosure, took on a new complexion. He appeared 
to have sprung suddenly into a new and rarer atmosphere. 
Hope was easily worth everything else in Pandora's box. 
When he began to visit at Dr. Gary's again, it must be 
said, that he could discern no change in Blair. Easy and 
charming as she always was to others, to him she was as 
constrained as formerly. She treated him with the same 
coldness that she had always shown him since that fatal 
evening when he had taken her to task about Middleton, and 
then had alleged that it was on Steve's account. However, 
he was not to be cast down now. With the key which Steve 
had given him he could afford to wait and was willing to 
serve for his mistake, and he set down her treatment of 
him simply to a woman's caprice. He would bide his time 
until the occasion came and then he would win her. Ac- 
cording to Steve, she had no idea that he was still in love 
with her, and according to the same expert authority, this 
was what she waited for. He had first to prove his love, 
and then he should find that he had hers. So through the 
long summer months he served faithfully. Each time 
that he saw Blair he found himself more deeply in love 
than before ; and each time he feared more to tell lier 
of it, lest Steve's diagnosis should possibly prove wrong. 


He knew that the next time he opened the subject it must 
bo final. He even stood seeing McRaffle visiting Dr. Gary's, 
though he fumed and smouldered internally over a man 
like McRaffle being in Blair's presence, however smooth he 
was. Steve declared that McRaffle was in love with Miss 
Welch, but Jacquelin knew better. Steve was such a jeal- 
ous creature that he thought everyone was in love with 
Miss Welch — even that Wash Still was, whom Miss Welch 
would not so much as look at. No, McRaffle was in love 
with Blair. Jacquelin knew it — just as he knew that Mid- 
dleton was. She could not bear McRaffle, of course ; but the 
thought of Middleton often crossed Jacquelin's mind, and 
discomposed him. He had heard of the honors Middleton 
had won in the Northwest and of his retiremeiit from the 
service. Bhiir had told him of it with undue enthusiasm. 
Confound him ! When that Indian bullet hit him most 
men would have died. Tlien as his thought ran this way 
Jacquelin would haul himself up short, with a feeling of 
hot shame that such an ignoble idea could even enter his 
mind, and next time he saw Blair would speak of Middle- 
ton with unmeasured admiration. 

At length he could wait no longer. He would tell her 
how he had always loved her. Steve was his confidant, as 
he was Steve's, and Steve agreed that this was the thing 
to do. 

Alas ! for masculine wisdom ! The way of a serpent on 
a rock is not harder than that of a maid witli a man. An 
opportunity presented itself one afternoon in which every- 
thing anpeared so propitious that Jacquelin felt as though 
the time were made for his occasion. He and Blair had been 
to ride. The summer woods had been heavenly in their 
peacefulness and charm. Blair had insensibly fallen into 
a softer mood than she usually showed him, and, as they 
had talked of old times, she had seemed sweeter to him 
than ever before. He had spoken to her of Rupert, and of 
his anxiety about the boy ; of his association Avith McRaffle, 
and of the influence ^IcRaffle seemed to have obtained over 

A CUT diiip:ct and a rejected address 387 

him ; and Blair had responded with a warmth which had 
set his heart to bounding. Mr. McEaiSe was a dangerous, 
bad man, she declared, and she was doing all she could to 
counteract his evil influence over Rupert. Her sweetness 
to Jacquelin was such that he had hardly been able to re- 
strain himself from opening his heart to her then and there, 
and asking her to let the past be bygones and accept his 
love. But he had waited until they should reach home, 
and now they were at the door. She invited him to stay 
to tea. Her voice thrilled him. Jacquelin suddenly began 
to speak to her of what was in his heart. She dropped her 
eyes and he was conscious that she was trembling. In his 
constraint he referred to the past, and faltered something 
about Steve having set him right. She looked rip quickly. 
He did not heed it, but went on and said all he had so 
often rehearsed, with a good deal more than he had planned 
to say. Perhaps he gathered confidence as he went on — 
perhaps he showed it a little too much ; for he became 
conscious somehow that she was not as responsive as she 
had been just before. 

When he was quite through, he waited. She also 
waited a moment, and then began. 

She did not care for him, except as a relative, and she 
never expected to marry at all. She was not looking at 
him, and was evidently speaking under strong feeling. 

Jacquelin's hopes were all dashed to the ground. His 
throat felt parched, and when he tried to speak again his 
lips did not frame his words easily. 

" May I ask if you care for anyone else ? " he demanded, 
in a constrained voice. 

She did not know that he had any right to ask her such 
a question. She had already told him that she never 
expected to marry anyone." She had grown more for- 
mal. • 

Jacquelin was sure now that she cared for Middleton, 
and she had simply misled Steve. 

•' What did you tell Steve ? " he asked. 


She faced him, her figure quite straight and strong, her 
flashing eyes fastened searchingly on his face. 

*' So that's the reason you have come ! Steve told you 
to come, and you have come to say what he told you to 
say. Well, go back to him and tell him I say he was 
mistaken." Her lip curled as she turned on her heel. 

''No — no — Blair — wait one moment!" But she had 
walked slowly into the house, and Jacquelin saw her 
climb the stair. 

A moment later he mounted his horse, and came slowly 
away down the road he knew so well, the road to Vain 
regret, beyond which, somewhere, lies Despair. 

He knew now it was Middleton who had barred his 
way, and that to keep her secret, Blair had misled SteN e. 
He might have forgiven her all else, but he could not 
forgive that. 

When Jacquelin announced the result of his proposal 
to Steve, that wise counsellor laughed at him. He could 
make it up in ten minutes, he declared, and he rode up to 
see Blair next day. His interview lasted somewhat longer 
than he had expected, and most of the time he had been 
defending himself against Blair's scathing attack. When 
he left, it was with a feeling that he had done both Blair 
and Jacquelin an injury, and when he saw Jacquelin, lie 
summed up his position briefly: ''Well, Jack, I give it 
up. I thought I knew something of men and women ; 
but I give up women." 

After his interview with Major Welch, Captain Allen had 
appeared to be in better spirits than he had been in for some 
time. Even the letter he received from that gentleman did 
not wholly dash his hopes, and though they occasionally 
sank, they as often rallied again. We know from the 
greatest of novelists that Avhen a man is cudgelling his 
brains for other rhymes to "sorrow" besides "borrow" 
and " to-morrow," he is nearer light than he thinks. 
Steve found this safety-scape. 

Jacquelin did not write poetry or even " poems " on 


the subject of his disappointment ; but his cheek-bones 
began to show more, and his chin began to take on a 
firmer set. 

But Captain Allen was soon plunged as deep in the abyss 
as Jacquelin. 

He was sitting in his office looking out of the window 
one afternoon, a habit that had grown on him of late, 
when a pair of riders, a lady and her escort, rode up the 
street, in plain view of where he sat. At sight of the 
trim figure sitting her horse so jauntily, Steve's heart 
gave a bound and a light came into his eyes. The next 
instant a cloud followed as he recognized Miss Welch's 
companion as Dr. Washington Still. Eumor had reported 
that Dr. Still was with her a good deal of late. Miss 
Thomasia and Blair had met them one evening visiting a 
poor woman together. McRaffle had taken the trouble to 
state that he had frequently met them. 

Steve Qould not believe that such a girl as Ruth Welch 
could be accepting the addresses of such a man as young 
Dr. Still. She could not know him. He followed the girl, 
with his eyes, as long as she was in view. For some mo- 
ments afterward he sat with a dogged resolution on his 
face ; but it gradually faded away, and he rose and went 
out, passing down to the street. He had not seen Ruth 
Welch face to face since the filing of Jacquelin's suit. But 
she had never been absent from his thoughts for a moment. 
He had heard that both she and Mrs. Welch had a great 
deal of feeling about the suit, and that both had spoken 
bitterly of him ; but Major Welch had received him civilly, 
even though he had denied his request to be allowed to 
offer himself as Ruth's suitor. 

With a combination of emotions, rather than with any 
single idea in his mind, Steve strode into the village and up 
the street. He wanted to get away, and he wanted to be 
near her and have a look in her face ; but he had no definite 
intention of letting her see him, none, at least, of meeting 
her. But as he turned a corner into a shady street they 


were coming back and Steve saw that even at a distance 
Ruth Welch knew him. He could not turn back ; so kept 
on, and as they passed him he raised his liat. Miss Welcli's 
escort, with a supercilious look on his face, raised his hat ; 
but the girl looked Steve full in the eyes and cut him dead. 
The blood sprang into Steve's face. For any sign she 
gave, except a sudden whitening, and a contraction of the 
mouth, she might never have seen him before in all her 
life. The next second Steve heard her voice starting ap- 
parently a very animated conversation with her escort, and 
heard him reply : 

''Hurrah! for you, that will settle him ; '" and break 
into a loud laugh. 

Steve did not return to his office that evening. He 
spent the night wandering about in blind and hopeless 
gloom. But had Mr. Allen known what occurred during 
the remainder of that ride he might have found in it some 

Miss Ruth had hardly gotten out of hearing of Captain 
Allen, and her escort had scarcely had time to turn over 
in his mind his enjoyment of his rival's discomfiture and 
his own triumph, when the young lady inexplicably 
changed and turned on him so viciously and with so biting 
a sarcasm that he was almost dumfounded. The occa- 
sion for her change was so slight that Wash Still was com- 
pletely mystified. It was only some slightiiig little speech 
he made about the man she had just cut dead. 

" Why don't you say that to Captain Allen? " she asked, 
with a sudden flush on her face and a flash in her eyes. 
"You, at least, have not the excuse of not speaking to him." 

Women have this in common with the Deity, that their 
ways are past finding out. The young doctor was com- 
pletely mystified ; but he could not comprehend how Miss 
Welch could have cut Cajitain Allen without it, in some 
way, redounding to his own advantage, and, notwithstand- 
ing her fierceness and coldness toward him, he believed it 
was a favorable time for him. 


The ride home througli the woods in the soft summer 
afternoon presented an opportunity he had been seeking for 
some time, and the attitude Ruth had shown toward his 
rival appeared to him to indicate that everything was pro- 
pitious. Even her attack he construed as only a flash of 
feminine caprice. After her little explosion, Miss Welch 
had lapsed into silence, and rode with her eyes on her 
horse's mane and her lips firmly closed. The young man 
took it for remorse for her conduct, and drawing up to her 
side, began to talk of liimself and of his affairs. Euth 
listened in silence — so silently, indeed, that she scarcely 
seemed to be listening at all — and the young doctor was 
moved to enlarge somewhat eloquently on his prospects as 
the owner of both Birdwood and Eed Rock, the hand- 
somest places in the County. Presently, however, he 
changed, and as they reached a shady place in the road, 
began to address her. lie stated that he thought she had 
given him reason to hope he might be successful. The 
change in Ruth was electric. She gave suddenly a vehe- 
ment gesture of wild dissent : 

"Oh! No! no! Don't!" she cried, and drew her 
horse to a stand, turning in the road and facing the young 
man, " No ! no ! You have misunderstood me ! How 
could you think so? I have never done it ! I never 
dreamed of it ! It is impossible ! " The deep color sprang 
to her face, but the next moment she controlled herself by 
a strong effort, and faced the young man again. " Dr. 
Still," she said, calmly and with deep earnestness, " I am 
sure that, wittingly, I never gave you the least warrant to 
think — to suppose that I could — that you might say to 
me what you have said. My conscience tells me this ; but 
if I have ever done or said anything that appeared to you 
to be a ground to build a hope on, I am deeply sorry, and 
humbly beg your pardon. I beg you to believe me, I never 
intended it, I do not wish to appear hard or — cruel, but 
I must tell you now that tiiere is not the slightest hope for 
'"• u, and never will be. I do not love you, I never could 


love, and I will never marry, you, never." She could not 
have spoken more strongly. 

The young man's face, which had begun hy being pale, 
had now turned crimson, and he broke out, almost violently 
— reiterating that she had given him ground to think him- 
self favored. He cited the rides she had taken with him. 
Euth's eyes opened wide and her form straightened : 

'' I do not wish to discuss this further. I have told yon 
the simple truth. I should prefer that you go on ahead of 
me — I prefer to ride home alone." 

"Why did you cut Steve Allen this evening? " Dr. Still 
persisted, angrily. 

Ruth's face hardened. 

"Certainly not on your account," she said, coldly, "or 
for any reason that you will understand. Go ; I will ride 
home alone." 

" I used to think you were in love with him, and so did 
evei-ybody else," persisted he ; " but it can't be him. Is 
it that young jackanapes, Rupert Gray ? He's in love 
with you, but I didn't suppose you to be in love with a 
boy like that." 

Ruth's face flamed with indignation. 

" By what right do you question me as to such things ? 
Go, I will ride home alone." She drew her horse back 
and away from him. The young man hesitated for a 
moment, but Ruth was inexorable. 

" If you please — go ! " she said, coldly, pointing down 
the road. 

" "Well, I will go," he burst out, angrily. " But Rupert 
Gray and the whole set of 'em liad better look out for 
me," and with a growl of rage, he struck his horse and 
galloped away. 

Miss Welch rode on alone, her heart moved by conflict- 
ing emotions — indignation, apprehension — and yet others, 
deeper than these. What right had this man to treat her 
so ? She flushed again with indignation as she thought 
of his insolence. It seemed to her almost an insult to 


have been addressed by him. She weiit over in her mind 
her conduct toward him. There never was one thing of 
which lie could have a right to comjolain. Of this she 
was sure. It could not be otherwise, for she had never 
for a moment been free from a consciousness of antipathy 
to him. Then she went over her present situation, the 
situation of her father and mother, now so lonely and cut 
off from everyone. The cool, still Avoods, the deserted 
road, the far-reaching silence, were such as to inspire lone- 
liness and sadness, and Euth was on the verge of tears 
when the gallop of a horse came to her from ahead. She 
wondered if it could be Wash Still returning, and a mo- 
mentary wave of apprehension swept over her. The next 
instant Rupert Gray cantered in sight. Kuth's first 
thought was one of relief, the next was that she ought to 
be cool to him. But as the boy galloped up to her, his 
young face glowing with pleasure, and reined in his horse, 
all her intended formality disappeared, and she returned 
his greeting cordially. 

" Well, I am in luck," he exclaimed. " Mayn't I ride 
home with you? " He had assumed her consent, and turned 
his horse without waiting for it. 

" I am afraid you may be going somewhere and I may 
detain you." 

" No, indeed ; I am my own master," he said, with a 
toss of his head. " Besides, I don't like you to be riding 
BO late all by 3'ourself." 

The imitation of Steve Allen's protecting manner was 
so unmistakable that Ruth could not help smiling. 

" Oh! I'm not afraid. No one would interfere with me." 

" They'd better not ! If they did, they'd soon hear 
from me," declared the boy, warmly, with that mannish 
toss of the head which boys have. " I'd soon show 'em 
who Rupert Gray is. Oh ! I say ! I met Washy Still up 
the road yonder, a little way back, looking as sour as 
vinegar, and you ought to have seen the way I cut him. 
I passed him just like this" (giving an imitation of his 


stare), ''and yon just ought to liave seen tlie way he 
looked. He looked as if he'd have liked to shoot me." 
He burst into a clear, merry laugh. 

The boy's description of himself was so exactly like the 
way Ruth had treated Steve, that she could not forbear 
smiling. The smile died away, however, and an expres- 
sion of seriousness took its place. 

" Rupert, I don't think it well to make enemies of peo- 
ple " 

''Who ? Of Washy Still ? Pshaw ! He knows I hate 
him — and he hates me. I don't care. I want him to liate 
me. I'll make him hate me worse before I'm done." It 
was the braggadocio of a boy. 

Ruth thought of the gleam of hate that had come into 
the man's eyes. " He might do you an injury." 

" Who ? Washy Still ? Let him try it. I'm a better 
man than he is, any day. But he'd never try it. He's 
afraid to look me in the eyes. You don't like him, do 
you ? " he asked with sudden earnestness. 

" No, but I think you underestimate him." 

*' Pshaw ! He can't hurt you — not unless you took his 
physic — no other way. I asked if you liked him, because 
— because some j)eople thought you did, and I said you 
didn't — I knew you didn't. I say, I want to ask you some- 
thing. I wish you wouldn't let him come to see you." 


" Why, because he is not a man you ought to associate 
with — he is not a gentleman. He's a sneak, and his father's 
a thief. He stole our place — just stole it — besides every- 
thing else he's stolen." 

" W"hy, you say we — my father had something to do with 
that," said Ruth, quietly. 

• " What ! You ! Your father ?— I said he stole !" He 
reined up his horse, in his amazement. 

'•'In your suit or bill, or whatever you call it." Ruth 
felt that it was cruel in her to strike him such a blow, yet 
she enjoyed it. 


*' I never did — we never did — yon are mistaken," stam- 
mered the boy. " Why, I wonldn't have done it for the 
whole of Red Rock — no more wonld Steve. Let me ex- 
plain. I know all about it." 

Ruth looked acquiescent, and as they walked, their horses 
along under the trees the boy tried to explain the matter. 
He was not very lucid, for he was often confused ; but he 
made clear the desire they had had to keep Major Welch 
out of the matter, and the sincerity of their motive in giv- 
ing him the notice before he should buy, and the anxiety' 
they had had and the care they had taken to make it clear 
in their suit that no charge of personal knowledge by him 
was intended. He also informed Ruth of Steve's action in 
the matter, and of the episode in the office that night when 
the bill was signed, or, at least, of as much of it as he had 

" But why did he do that ? " asked Ruth. 

" Don't you know ? " 

'' N — 0." Very doubtfully and shyly. 

*' Steve's in love with you ! " 

" What ? Oh, no ! You are mistaken." Ruth was con- 
scious that her reply was silly and weak, and that she was 
blushing violently. 

" Yes, he is — dead in love. Why, everybody knows it 
— at least Jack does, and Blair does, and I do. And I 
am, too," he added, warmly. The boy's ingenuous decla- 
ration steadied Ruth and soothed her. She looked at him 
with a pleased and gratified light on her face. 

"■ I am — I am dead in love with you, too. I think you 
are the prettiest and sweetest and kindest young lady in 
the whole world — just as nice as Blair, every bit ; and I 
just wish I was older — I just wish you could marry me." 
He was blushing and turning white by turns, and the 
expression on his young face was so ingenuous and sweet 
and modest, and the light in his eyes so adoring, that the 
girl's heart went out to him. She drew her horse over to 
his side, and put her hand softly on his arm. 


" Rupert, you are a dear, sweet boy, and, at least, you 
will let me be your best friend, and you will be mine," she 
said, sweetly. 

"' Yes, I will, and I tliink you are just as good as you 
can be, and Til be just like your own brother, if you will 
let me." 

" Indeed, I will, and we will always be sister and brother 
to each other." 

" Thank you," he said, simply. A moment later he 
said, reining in his horse, '' I say, if you think that suit 
means anything against your father, I'll have it stoj^ped." 

"No, no, Rupert; I am satisfied," Ruth protested, 
with a smile. 

" Because I can do it ; Jack and Steve would do any- 
thing for me, and I would do anything for you. It was 
mainly on my account, anyhow, that they brought it, I 
believe," he added. " They said I was a minor ; but, you 
know, ril soon be of age — I'm seventeen now. I don't 
know why boys have to be boys, anyhow ! I don't see 
why they can't be men at once." 

" I think I know," Ruth smiled, gazing at him pleas- 

"■ And, I say, I want to tell you one thing about Steve. 
He isn't what people take him to be. You know ? — Just 
clever and dashing and wild and reckless. He's the best 
and kindest fellow in the world. Y^'ou ask Aunt Thomasia 
and Blair and Aunt Peggy and Uncle Waverley and old 
Mrs. Turley, and all the poor people about the County. 
And he's as biaive as Julius CaBsar. I want to tell you 
that of him, and you know I wouldn't tell you if 'twa'n't 

"■ I know," said Ruth, looking at him more pleasantly 
than ever. 

They were at the gate now, and Ruth invited him in ; 
but Rupert said he had an engagement. 

" There is one thing I want to ask you to do," said 
Ruth, rather doubtfully. 


" What is it ? " he asked, brightening ; and then, as 
she hesitated : " Anything ! I'll do it. Fll do anything 
for you, Miss Euth ; indeed, I will." 

*' No ; it is not for me, but for yourself," said Ruth, 
who was thinking of a report that Eupert had been asso- 
ciating lately with some very wild young men, and she had 
it in her mind to ask him not to do so any more. " But, 
no ; I'll ask you next time I see you, maybe," she added, 
after a pause. 

" All right ; I promise you I'll do it." 

He said good-by, and galloped away through the dusk. 

Ruth stood for some time looking after him, and then 
turned and entered the house, and went softly to her 

Ruth did not think it necessary to tell her mother or 
father of the incidents of her ride, except that Rupert 
had ridden home with her. She shrank instinctively 
from speaking even to her mother of what had occurred 
on the ride. She felt a certain humiliation in the fact 
that Dr. Still had ventured to address her. Her only con- 
solation was that she knew she had never given him any 
right to speak so to her. She had never gone anywhere 
with him except from a sense of duty, and had never been 
anything but coldly polite to him. She was relieved to 
hear a few days later that Dr. Still had left the County, 
and, rumor said, had gone to the city to practise his pro- 
fession. Anyhow, he was gone, and Ruth felt much re- 
lieved, and buried her uncomfortable secret in her own 



A is^EW cause of grievance against Mrs. Welch had aris- 
en in the County in her conduct of her school near the 
Bend. Colored schools were not a novelty in the County. 
Blair Cary had for two years or more taught the colored 
school near her home. But Mrs. Welch had made a new 
departure. The other school had been talked over and de- 
liberated on until it was in some sense the outcome of the 
concert of the neighborhood. Dr. Cary gave the land and 
the timber. "Whether it will amount to anythiiig else, I 
cannot say ; but it will amount to this, sir/^ said the Doc- 
tor to General Legale, " I shall have done the best I could 
for my old servants." And on this, General Legale, who 
had been the most violent opponent of it all, had sent his 
ox-team to haul the stocks to the mill. " Not because I 
believe it will accomplish any good, sir ; but because a gen- 
tleman can do .no less than sustain other gentlemen who 
have assumed obligations." 

Thus Miss Blair's school was regarded in part as repre- 
sentative of the old system. When, however, Mrs. Welch 
started her school, she consulted no one and asked no 
assistance — at least, of the county people. The aid she 
sought was only from her friends at the North, and when 
she received it, she set in, chose her place and built her 
school, giving out at the same time that it was to be used 
for sewing classes, debating societies, and other public 
purposes. Thus this school came to be considered as a for- 
eign institution, conducted on foreign principles, and in 
opposition to the school already established by the neigh- 



boi'hood. Mrs. Welch not only built a much larger and 
handsomer structure than any other school-house in that 
section, but she planted vines to cover the porch, and in- 
troduced a system of prizes and rewards so far beyond any- 
thing heretofore known in the County, that shortly not 
only most of the scholars who had attended Blair's school 
left, but those from other schools much farther off began 
to flock to Mrs. Welch's seminary. 

The first teacher Mrs. Welcli secured to take charge of the 
institution was a slender, delicate yoiing woman with deep 
eyes, thin cheeks, and a worn face, who by her too assiduous 
devotion to what she deemed her duty and an entire disre- 
gard of all prudence, soon reduced herself to such a low 
condition of health that Dr. Gary, who was called in, in- 
sisted that she should be sent back to her old home. The 
next teacher. Miss Slipley, was one who had testimonials 
high enough to justify the idea that she was qualified to 
teach in Tiibingen, 

She was a young woman of about thirty, with somewhat 
pronounced views and a very pronounced manner ; her 
face was plain, but she had a good figure, of which Mrs. 
Welch, who herself had a fine figure, thought she was much 
too vain, and as her views relating to the conduct of the 
school by no means coincided with those of Mrs. Welch, 
matters were shortly not as harmonious betv/een the two 
as they might have been. She soon began to complain of 
the discomforts of her situation and her lack of associa- 
tion. Mrs. Welch deplored this, but thought that. Miss 
Slipley should find her true reward in the sense of duty per- 
formed, and told her so plainly. This, Miss Slipley said, 
was well enough when one had a husband and family to 
support her, but she had had no idea that she was to live in 
a wilderness, where her only associates were negroes, and 
where not a man ever spoke to her, except to bow distantly. 
So after a little time, she had thrown up her position and 
gone home, and shortly afterward had married. This, to 
Mrs. Welch, explained all her high airs. Just then Mrs. 


Welch received a letter from a yonng woman she knew, 
asking her to look out for a position for her. During the 
war this applicant had been a nurse in a hospital, where 
Mrs. Welch had learned something of her efficiency. So 
when Miss Slipley left, Mrs. Welch wrote Miss Bush to 

*'She, at least, will not have Miss Slipley's very objec- 
tionable drawbacks — for, if I remember aright. Miss Bush 
has no figure at all," said Mrs. Welch. " Heaven save me 
from women with figures ! When an ugly woman has noth- 
ing else, she is always showing her figure or her feet." 

When Miss Bush arrived Mrs. Welch found her impres- 
sions verified. She was a homely little body, yet with kind 
eyes and a pleasant mouth. She acceded cheerfully to all 
Mrs. Welch's views. She was perfectly willing to live with 
the woman at whose house it had been arranged that she 
should board ; she wished, she said, to live unobtrusively. 
She was in deep mourning and wore a heavy veil. 

Miss Bush had not been in her position long before Mrs. 
Welch felt that at last she had found the very person for 
the place. She was as quiet as a mouse, and not afraid 
of any work whatever. She not only taught, but wholly 
effaced herself, and, in fact, proved a perfect treasure. 

By the negroes she was called Miss May (a contraction 
for Mary), whi<3h went abroad as her family name. 

Miss May proved to be a strict disciplinarian, and a firm 
believer in the somewhat obsolete, but not less wise doc- 
trine, that to spare the rod is to spoil the child, and as 
this came to be known, it had the effect of establishing her 
in the good esteem of the neighborhood. Thus, though 
no one visited her, Miss May received on all hands a re- 
spectful regard. This was suddenly jeopardized at the 
opening of the new campaign, by a report that the school- 
house, in addition to its purposes as a school-building, 
was being used as a public hall by negroes for their Union- 
league meetings. Leech, whose headquarters were now in 
the city, had come up to take charge of the canvass, and 


had boasted that lie would make it hot for his opponents 
— a boast he apjDeared likely to make good. He attended 
the meetings at the new school-honse, and it was reported 
that he had made a speech in which he said that the whites 
owed the negroes everything ; that the time had come for 
payment, and that matches were only five cents a box, 
and if barns were burned they belonged to them. The re- 
port of this speech was carried through the County next 
day. One night shortly afterward Andy Stamper's store 
was burned to the ground, and this was followed by the 
burning of several barns throughout Eed Eock and the 
adjoining counties. 

The reappearance of the masked order that had almost 
disappeared followed immediately in some places. A meet- 
ing was held in Brutusville, denouncing the outrage of such 
speeches as those of Leech, at which Dr. Gary presided, 
and Steve Allen and General Legaie, Jacquelin Gray and 
Captain McKafSe spoke, but there was no reapjDearance in 
this County of the masked men. McRaffle denounced the 
patrons and teacher of the new school with so much heat 
that Steve Allen declared he was as incendiary as Leech. 

McRaffle sneered that Steve appeared to have become 
very suddenly a champion of the carj)et-bagger, Welch ; 
and Steve retorted that at least he did not try to bor- 
rov/ from people and then vilify them, but that Captain 
McRaffle could find another cause to quarrel with him if 
he wished it. For a long time there had been bad blood 
between Steve and McRaffle. Among other causes was 
McRaffle's evil influence over Ru])ert. 

Rupert Gray had been growing of late more and more 
independent, associating with McRaffle and a number of 
the wildest fellows in the County, and showing a tendency 
to recklessness which had caused all his friends much con- 
cern. Jacquelin tried to counsel and control him, but the boy 
was wayward and heedless. Rupert thought it was hard 
that he was to be under direction at an age when Jacque- 
lin had already won laurels as a soldier. 


When liis brother took him to task for going off with 
some of the wilder young men in their escapades, liiipert 
only laughed at him. 

" Why;, Jack, it's you I am emulating. As Cousin John 
Gary would say, ' The trophies of Miltiades Avill not let 
me sleep.' " And when Captain Allen tried to counsel 
him seriously, he floored that gentleman by saying that he 
had learned both to drink and to play poker from him. 
He was, however, devoted to Blair, and she appeared to have 
much influence with him ; so Steve and Jacquelin tried to 
keep him with her as much as |)0ssible. 

One evening shortly after the public meeting at which 
Steve and McRaffle had had their quarrel, Rupert appeared 
to be somewhat restless. Blair had learned the signs and 
knew that in such cases it was likely to be due to Rupert's 
having heard that some mischief was on foot, and she used 
to devise all sorts of schemes to keep the boy occupied. 
She soon discovered now what was the matter. Rupert 
had heard a rumor that a movement was about to be di- 
rected against Miss May's school. None of the men he 
was intimate with knew much about it. It was only a 
rumor. Steve and Jacquelin were both away from the 
County attending Court in another county. Blair was 
much disturbed. 

"Why, they 'are going to do it on your account-," said 
Rupert. "They say this school was started to break uj) 
your school." 

" Nonsense ! Do they think that's the way to help me? 
The teacher is a woman," urged Blair. Ru23ert's counte- 
nance fell. 

" They aren't going to trouble her — are just going to 
scare the negroes so there won't be any more meetings held 
there. Some say she's kin to Leech — or something." 

" She is nothing of the kind," asserted Blair. "Ruth 
Welch told me she had never seen Mr. Leech, and declined 
positively to see him. When is it to be ?" 



Blair lamented the absence of Jacquelin and Steve. If 
they were but at home they would, she kneAV, prevent this 

''Oh ! Jacquelin and Steve ! They are nothing but old 
fogies," laughed Rupert. " McRaffle, he's the man!" 
With a toss of his head he broke into a snatch of Bonny 

Blair watched him gravely for a moment. 

"Rupert," she said, " Captain McRaffle is nothing but 
a gambler and an adventurer. He is not worthy to be 
named in the same breath with — with Steve and — your 
brother any more than he is to be named with my father. 
This is the proof of it, that he is going to try to interfere 
with a woman. Why does he not go after Colonel Leech, 
who made the speech there ? " Rupert's face grew grave. 
Blair pressed her advantage. 

" He is a coward ; for he would never dare to under- 
take such a thing if your brother and Steve were at home.. 
He takes advantage of their absence to do this, when he 
knows that Miss May has no defender." 

Rupert's eye flashed. 

" By George ! I never thought of that," he burst out. 
" She has got a defender. I'll go there and stand guard 
myself. You needn't have any fear, Blair, if I'm there." 
He hitched his coat around in such a way as to display the 
butt of a huge pistol. Blair could not help smiling. But 
this was not what she wanted. She was afraid to send 
Rupert to guard the place. He had not judgment enough. 
If what the boy had heard were true, something might 
happen to him if he went there. She knew that he would 
defend it with his life ; but she was afraid of the conse- 
quences. So she set to work to put Rupert on another tack. 
She wanted him to go down to the county seat and learn 
what he could of the plans, and try to keep the men from 
coming at all. This scheme was by no means as agi-eeable 
to Rupert as the other, but he finally yielded, and set out. 
Blair watched him ride away through the orchard, the even- 


ing light falling softly around him as he cantered off. She 
sat still for a little while thinking. Suddenly she rose, 
and going into the house found her mother and held a 
short consultation with her. A few moments later she 
came out with her hat on, and disappeared among the 
apple-trees, walking rapidly in the same direction Rupert 
had taken. Her last act as she left the house was to call 
softly to her mother : 

''When Rupert comes back send him after me. I will 
wait for him at Mr. Stamper's." 

It had occurred to her that Andy Stamper would do 
what she was afraid to have a rash boy like Rupert at- 
tempt. Andy hated Leech, to whom he charged the burn- 
ing of his store ; but he was devoted to Miss Welch. And 
he had told Blair of seeing Miss May once jduII down her 
veil to keep from looking at Leech. 

When, however, Blair arrived at the Stampers's Mr. 
Stamper was absent. But she found an heroic enough ally 
in his representative, Mrs. Delia, to make up for all other 
deficiencies. The idea of the possibility of an injury to 
one of her sex fired that vigorous soul with a flame not to 
be quenched. 

" I jest wish my Andy was here," she lamented. " He'd 
soon straighten 'em out. Not as I cares. Miss Blair, about 
the school, or the teacher," she said, with careful limita- 
tion ; " for I don't like none of 'em, and I'd be glad if 
they'd all go back where they come from. The old school 
was good enough for me, and them as can't find enough 
in white folks to work on, outdoes me. But — a man as 
can't git a man to have a fuss with and has to go after a 
woman, Delia Stamper jist wants to git hold of him. I 
never did like that Cap'n McRaffler, anyhow. He owes 
Andy a hundred and twenty-nine dollars, and if I hadn't 
stopt Andy from givin' him tilings — that's what I call it — 
jest givin' 'em to him — sellin' on credit, he'd a owed us 
five hundred. He knows better th'n to fool with me." 
She gave a belligerent shake of her head. " I'll tell you 


what. Miss Blair," she suddenly broke out. " Onr men 
folks are all away. If they are comin' after women, let's 
give 'em some women to meet as know how to deal with 'em. 
I wants to meet Captain McRaffler, anyhow." Anotlier 
shake of the head was given, this time up and down, and 
her black eyes began to sparkle. Blair looked at her with 
new satisfaction. 

" That is what I wish. That is why I came, " she said. 
*' Can you leave your children ? " 

'* They are all right," said Mrs. Stamper, with kindling 
eyes. " I ain't been on such an expedition not since the 
war. I'll leave word for Andy to come as soon as he gits 

As they sallied forth, Mrs. Stamper put into her pocket 
a big pistol and her knitting. " One gives me courage to 
take the other," she said. 

It was a mile or two through the woods to the school- 
house, and the novel guards arrived at their post none too 
soon. As they emerged from the woods into the little 
clearing on one side of which stood the church and on the 
other the new school-house, the waning moon was just 
rising above the tree-tops, casting a ghostly light through 
the trees and deepening the shadows. The school-house 
was considerably larger than any other in the neighbor- 
hood, and over one end of the porch Miss May had trained 
a Virginia creeper. The two guards took their seats in 
the shadow of the vine. They were both somewhat awed 
by the situation, but from different causes. Blair's feel- 
ing was due to the strangeness of her situation out 
there, surrounded by dark woods filled with the cries of 
night insects and the mournful call of the whip-poor- 
will. Mrs. Stamper confessed that the graves amid the 
weeds around the church were what disquieted her. For 
she boasted that she ''was not afearedof that man living." 
But she admitted mournfully, "1 am certainly afeared of 

The two sentinels had bat a short time to wait. They 


had not been there long before the tramp of horses was 
heard, and in a little while from the woods opposite them 
emerged a cavalcade of, perhaps, a dozen horsemen. Mrs. 
Stamper clutched Blair with a grip of terror, for men and 
horses were heavily shrouded and looked ghostly enough. 
Blair was trembling, but not from fear, only from excite- 
ment. The presence of the enemy suddenly strung her uji, 
and she j^ut her hand on her companion encouragingly. 
Just then one of the men burst into a loud laugh. Mrs. 
Delia's grip relaxed. 

" I know that laugh," she said, with a sigh of deep relief. 
" Jest let him ride up here and try some of his shenanigin ! " 
She began to pull at her pistol, but Blair seized her. 

" For heaven's sake, don't," she whispered ; and Mrs. 
Stamper let the pistol go, and they squeezed back into the 
shadow. Just then the men rode up to the school-house 
door. They were discussing what they should do, " Burn 
the house down," declared the leader. "Drive the old 
hag away." But this met with fierce opj^ositiou. 

"I didn't come out here to burn any house down," said 
one of the men, "and I'm not going to do it. You can 
put your notice up and come along." 

"Ah ! you're afraid," sneered the other. 

There was a movement among the horsemen, and the 
man so charged" rode up to the head of the column and 
pulled his horse in front of the leader. There was a gleam 
of steel in the light of the moon. 

" Take that back, or I'll make you prove it," he said, 
angrily. "Eide out there and draw your pistol; we'll 
let Jim here give the word, and we'll see who's afraid." 

Their companions crowded around them to make peace. 
The leader apologized. The sentiment of the crowd was 
evidently against him. 

" Now get down and fix up your notice to Leech, and 
let's be going," said one of the peacemakers. 

The leader dismounted and started up to the door. As 
he did so, one of the two young women stepped forward. 



" What do you want ? " asked Mrs. Stamper. The man 
positively staggered from surprise, and a murmur of as- 
tonishment broke from the horsemen. Mrs. Stamper did 
not give them time to recover. With true soklierly in- 
stinct she pressed her advantage. " I know what yon 
want," she said, with scorn. " You want to scare a poor 
woman who ain't got anybody to defend her. You ain't 
so much against niggers and carpet-baggers as you make 
out. I know you." 

" You know nothing of the kind/' growled the man, an- 
grily, in a deep voice. He had recovered himself. " What 
business have you here ? Go home, wherever that may be, 
and leave the Invisible Empire to execute its dread de- 

"Dread fiddlesticks!" exclaimed Mrs. Stamper. ''I 
don't know you, don't I ? " She gave a step forward and, 
with a quick movement, caught and pulled the mask from 
his face. " I don't know you, Captain McRaffle ? And 
you don't know me, do you ? " With an oath the man 
made a grab for his mask, and, snatching it from her, has- 
tily replaced it. She laughed triumphantly. " No, I 
didn't know you. Captain McRaffle. I've got cause to 
know you. And you ought to be ashamed of yourself 
coming out here to harm a poor woman. So ouglit all of 
you ; and you are, I know, every mother's son of you. If 
you want to do anything, why don't you do it to men, and 
openly, like Andy Stamper and Capt'n Allen ? " 

" It hasn't been so long since they were in the order," 
sneered McRaffle. 

" Yes, and, when they were, there were gentlemen in it," 
fired back Mrs. Stamper ; " and they went after men, not 

" We didn't come to trouble any woman ; we came to 
give notice that no more night-meetings and speeches 
about burning houses were to be held here," growled Mc- 

*^ Yes ; so you set an example by wanting to burn down 


houses yourself ? That's the way you wanted to give no- 
tice, if it hadn't been for those gentlemen there." 

" She's too much for you. Captain," laughed his com- 

" "We're trying to heljj out our own people, and to keep 
the carpet-baggers from breaking up Miss Gary's school," 
said McRaffle, trying to defend himself. 

" No doubt Miss Gary will be much obliged to you." 

" No doubt she will. I have good reason to know she 
will," affirmed McRaffle; ''and you'll do well not to be 
interfering with our work." There was a movement in 
the corner behind Mrs. Stamper. 

''Ah! Well, I'll let her thank you in person," said 
Mrs. Stamper, falling back with a low bow, as Miss Gary 
herself advanced from the shadow. The astonishment of 
the men was not less than it had been when Mrs. Stamper 
first confronted them. 

Blair spoke in a clear, quiet voice that at once enforced 
attention. She disclaimed indignantly the charge that 
had just been made by the leader, and seconded all that 
Mrs. Stamper had said. Her friends, if she had any in the 
party, could not, she declared, do her a worse service than 
to interfere with this school. She knew that its patrons 
had reprobated the advantage that had been taken of their 
action in allowing the building to be used as a public hall. 

When she was through, several of the riders asked leave 
to accompany her and Mrs. Stamper home, assuring her 
that the school -house would not be interfered with. 

This offer, however, they declined. They were " not 
afraid," they said. 

" We don't think you need tell us that," laughed sev- 
eral of the men. 

Just then there was the sound of horses galloi>ing at 
top speed, and in a second Rupert Gray and Andy Stamper 
dashed up breathless. 

Mrs. Stamper and Miss Gary explained the situation. 
Hearing from Mrs. Stamper what McRaffle had said about 


Blair, Rupert flashed out that he would settle with Cap- 
tain Mcliaffle about it later. 

For a moment or two it looked as if there might be a 
serious misunderstanding. But Blair, seconded by the 
men who had offered to conduct them home and by Mrs. 
Stamper, quieted matters ; and the cavalcade of masked 
men rode away in one direction, whilst Andy and Rupert 
rode off in the other with the two young women behind 
them, leaving the little school-house as peaceful in the 
moonlight as if there had never been a sound except the 
cicalas' cry and the whip-poor-wills call within a hundred 

The incident had some far-reaching consequences. Only 
a day or two later Captain McRaffle went to town ; and a 
short time after there was quite a sensation in the county 
over a notice in Leech's organ, announcing that Colonel 
McRaffle, long disgusted with the brutal methods of the 
outlaws who disgraced the State, had severed his connec- 
tion with the party that employed such methods ; that, 
indeed, he had long since done so, but had refrained from 
making public his decision in order that he might obtain 
information as to the organization, and thus render his 
country higher service than he could otherwise do. 

The next issue of the paper announced the appointment 
of " the able counsellor. Colonel McRaffle," to the office 
of Commissioner of the Court, in which position, it stated, 
his experience and skill would prove of inestimable benefit 
to the country ! 

It was, perhaps, well for the new commissioner that 
his office was in the city. 



The departure of Leech and Still from the County was 
followed by the quieting down which always signalized 
their absence. The County breathed the freer and enjoyed 
the calm, knowing that when they returned there would 
be a renewed girding of loins for the struggle which the 
approaching campaign would inevitably bring. It was 
not even disquieted over the rumors of some unusual 
move which, it was reported, the Government, on the 
application of Leech and Still, w^ould make to strengthen 
their hands. These rumors had been going on so long 
that they were hardly heeded now. It would be time 
enough to meet the storm when it came, as it had met 
others ; meanwhile, the people of Red Rock would enjoy 
the calm that had befallen. The calm would be broken 
when Leech and Still returned for the trial of the Red 
Rock case at the approaching term of court. Steve Allen 
and Jacquelin, meanwhile, were applying all their energies 
to preparation for the trial. Rupert, filled with the desire 
to do his part, was riding up and down the County notify- 
ing their witnesses, and, it must be said, talking with a 
boy's imprudence of what they were going to do at the 
trial. ''They were going to show that Still was a thief, 
and were going to run him and Leech out of the County," 

Rupert left home one morning to go to the railway, prom- 
ising to return that evening. Jacquelin sat uj) for him, 

ut he did not come ; and as he did not appear next morn- 



mg, and no word had come from him, Jacquelin rode 
down in the evening to see about him. At the station he 
learned that Eupert had been there, but had left a little 
before dark, the evening before, to return home. He had 
fallen in with three or four men who had just come from 
the city on the train, and were making inquiries concern- 
ing the various places and residents in the upper end of 
the County, something about all of which they had ap- 
l^eared to know. They said they were interested in timber 
lands and had a good deal of law business they wished at- 
tended to, and they wanted advice as to who were the best 
lawyers of the County ; and Rupert said he could tell them 
all about the lawyers : that General Legale and Mr. Bagby 
were the best old lawyers, and his brother and Steve Allen 
were the best young lawyers. They asked him about 
Leech and McEaffle. 

Leech wasn't anything. Yes, he was — he was a thief, 
and so was Still. Still had stolen his father's bonds ; but 
wait until he himself got on the stand, he'd show him up ! 
McEaffle was a turncoat hound, who had stolen money 
from a woman and then tried to run her out of the 

One of the men who lived about the station told Jacque- 
lin that he had gone up and tried to get Eupert away from 
tlie strangers, and urged him to go home, but that the boy 
was too excited by this time to know what he was doing. 

"^ He was talking j^retty wildly," he said, "and was 
abusing Leech and Still and pretty much all the Eads. I 
didn't mind that so much, but he was blowing about that 
old affair when the negro soldiers were shot, and about 
the K.K.'s and the capture of the arms, and was telling 
what ho did about it. You know how a boy will do ! 
And I put in to stop him, but he wouldn't be hearsaid. 
He said these men were friends of his and had come up to 
employ you all in a lawsuit, and knew Leech and Still 
were a parcel of rascals. So I let him alone, and he went 
off with 'em, along with a wagon they'd hired, saying he 


was going to show them the country, and I supposed he 
was safe home/' 

B}' midnight the whole population of that part of the 
County was out, white and black, and the latter were as 
much interested as the former. All sorts of speculation 
was indulged in, and all sorts of rumors started. Some 
thought he had been murdered, and others believed he 
and his companion had gotten on a spree and had prob- 
ably gone off together to some adjoining county, or even 
had turned at some point and gone to the city ; but the 
search continued. Meantime, unknown to the searchers, 
an unexpected ally had entered the field. 

That evening Ruth Welch was sitting at home quietly 
reading when a servant brought a message that a man was 
at the door asking to see Major Welch. It happened that 
Major Welch was absent in town, and Mrs. Welch had 
driven over that afternoon to see a sick woman. So Ruth 
went out to see the man. He was a stranger, and Ruth 
was at once struck by something peculiar about him. lie 
was a little unsteady on his feet, his voice was thick, and, 
at first, he did not appear to quite take in what Ruth told 
him. lie had been sent, he repeated several times, to tell 
" Mazhur Welth" that they had taken his advice and had 
made the first arrest, and bagged the man who had given 
the information that started that riot, and had gotten evi- 
dence enough from him to hang him and to haul in the 
others too. 

" But I don't understand," said the girl. " What is all 
this about ? Who's been arrested, and who is to be hung ? 
My father has never advised the arrest of anyone," 

" Tha's all I know, miss," said the man. ''At least, 
tha's all I was to tell. I was told to bring him that mes- 
sage, and I guess it's so, 'cause they've got the young 
fellow shut up in a jail since last night and as drunk as a 
monkey, and don't anybody know he's there — tha's a good 
joke, ain't it ? — and to-morrow mornin' they'll take him 
to the city and lodge him in the jail there, and 't '11 go 


pretty hard with him. Don't anybody know he's there, 
and they're huntin' every wheres for him." He appeared 
to think this a great joke. 

" But I don't understand at all whom you mean ?" 

" The young one. They bagged him, and they're after 
the two older ones too," he said, confidentially. He was so 
repulsive that Euth shrank back. 

" The one they calls Rupert ; but they're after the two 
head devils — his brother and that Allen one. Them's the 
ones the colonel and your friend over there want to jug." 
He jerked his thumb in the direction of Red Rock. 

It all flashed on the girl in a moment. 

" Oh ! They have arrested Mr. Rupert Gray, and they 
want Mr. Jacquelin Gray and Captain Allen ? Who has 
arrested him ? " 

" The d — tectives. But them's the ones had it done — 
Major Leecii and Mist' Still." He winked elaborately, in 
a way that caused Ruth to stiffen with indignation. 

" What was it for ? " she asked, coldly. 

''For murder — killin' them men three or four years 
back. They've got the dead wood on 'em now — since the 
young one told all about it." 

" Has he confessed ? What did he say ? " 

"Enough to hang him and thein too, I heard. You 
see they tanked him up and led him on till he put his 
head in the noose. Oh ! they're pretty slick ones, them 
detectives is. They got him to pilot 'em most to the jail 
door, and then they slipped him in there, to keep him till 
they take him to the city to-morrow. He was so drunk — 
don't nobody know who he was, and he didn't know him- 
self. And they huntin' all over the country for him ! " 
He laughed till he had to support himself against the 

The expression on Ruth's face Avas such that the man 
noticed it. 

" Oh ! don't you mind it, miss. I don't think they're 
after the young one. They're after the two elder ones, and 


if he gives it away so tliey ever get them they'll be easy on 

Euth uttered an exclamation of disgust. 

" He'll never give it away " She checked herself. 

" Don't know — a man'll do a heap to save his own 
neck." He made a gesture, drawing his hand across his 
throat significantly. 

"I know that young man, and I say he'll die before 
he'd betray anyone — much less his cousin and brother." 

''Well, maybe so." 

Just as the messenger turned away Euth caught sight of 
someone standing in the shrubbery, and as the man went 
out of the gate the person came forward. It was Virgy Still. 
She appeared to be in a state of great agitation, and 
began to tell Euth a story in which her father and Eupert 
Gray and Major Leech were all mixed up so incoherently 
that, but that Euth had just heard the facts, she could 
never have been able to unravel it. At length Euth was 
able to calm her and to get her account. She had sent 
a man over to tell Euth, but she was so afraid he had 
not come that she had followed him. "They want to 
get rid of Mr. Eupert. It has something to do with the 
case against pa and your father. They are afraid Mr. 
Eupert will give evidence against them, and they mean 
to put him in jail and keep him from doing it. Do you 
know what it is ? " 

Euth shook her head. 

" I do not either. I heard them talking about it, but I 
did not understand what it was. They ain't after Mr. 
Eupert ; they're after Mr. Jacquelin and Ca]3tain Allen." 

She suddenly burst into tears. 

'' Oh, Miss Euth," she sobbed, " you don't know — you 
don't know " 

" I don't know what ?" asked Euth, gently. 

"He is the only one that was always kind to me." 

" Who ? " 

" Mr. Jacquelin. He was always good to me ; when I 


was a little bit of girl he was always kind to me. And now 
lie hates me, and I never wanted the place ! " 

" Oh, I don't think he does," said Ruth, consolingly. 

" Yes, he does ; I know he does," sobbed the girl. 
''And I never wanted the place. I have been miserable 
ever since I went there." 

Ruth looked at her with new symj^athy. The idea that 
the poor girl was in love with Jacquelin had never crossed 
her mind. She felt an unsijeakable j^ity for her. 

" And now they want me to marry Mr. Leech," moaned 
the girl, " and I hate him — I hate him ! Oh, I wish we 
never had had the place. I know he would not want to 
marry me if pa did not have it, and could not help him 
get the governorship. And I hate him. I hope we'll lose 
the case." 

" I would not marry anyone I did not want to marry," 
said Ruth. 

" Oh, you don't know," said Virgy. "You don't know 
Wash. And pa wants me to marry him too ; he says he'll 
be Governor. Pa loves me, but he won't hear to my not 
marrying. And I'll have to do it — unless we lose the 
case," she added. 

She rose and went away, leaving Ruth with a new idea 
in her mind. 

Ruth sat still for a few moments in deep thought. Sud- 
denly she sprang uj), and, calling a servant, ordered her 
horse. "While it was being got she seized a pencil and 
scribbled a few lines on a piece of paper, which she put 
in her pocket. 

She blushed to find what an interest she took in the 
matter, and how warmly her feeling was enlisted on the 
side opposed to that which she felt she ought to espouse. 
And she hated herself to recognize the cause. She tried 
to think that it was on account of the poor wild boy, or on 
account of Blair Gary and Miss Thomasia ; but no, she 
knew it was not on their account — at least, not mainly so — 
but on. account of another. 


When her horse came, Ruth muttered something to the 
servant about telling her mother that she would be back 
in a little while ; sprang into the saddle and galloped 
away, leaving the negro gazing after her with wonderment, 
and mumbling over the message she had given him. 

Blair Gary was one of the best horsewomen in the State, 
and it was fortunate for Ruth Welch's project that night 
that, emulating her friend, she also had become a capital 
horsewoman, self-possessed and perfectly fearless ; else she 
could not have managed the high-mettled, spirited horse 
she rode. 

Ruth knew her road well, and as soon as she turned into 
the highway that led to the county seat she let her horse 
out, and they fairly flew. She passed a number of men, 
riding all of them toward the court-house, but she dashed 
by them too rapidly for them to speak to her or to recog- 
nize her in the dark. As she came near the village the 
riders increased in numbers, so she drew in her horse and 
turned into a by-lane which skirted the back of the court- 
green and led near the lawyers' offices. Jumping her horse 
over the low fence, she tied him to a swinging limb of a 
tree where he Avould be in the shadow, and, with a pat or 
two to quiet him and keep him from whinnying, she made 
her way on foot into the court-green. There were a num- 
ber of lights and many men moving about over across the 
street that ran between the tavern and the court-green ; 
but not a light was visible in any of the offices. Ruth 
walked down as far as she dared, keeping close beside the 
fence, and tried to recognize some of the men who were 
moving about on the tavern veranda or in the road before 
it ; but there was not one that she knew. While she was 
listening the sound of a horse galloping rapidly came from 
the direction of the road that led to the railway, and the 
next minute the rider dashed up. Ruth's heart gave a 
bound as she recognized Captain Allen. His coming seemed 
to give her a sense of security and protection. She felt 
reassured and certain that now everything would be all 


right. As Steve sprang from liis liorse, he was surrounded 
by the crowd with eager questions. His first words, how- 
ever, damped Euth's hoj^es. 

No, no trace had been found of Rupert. Jacquelin and 
many others Vfere still searching for him, and would keep 
it up. No, he felt sure he had not been murdered by any 
negro — that he had not been murdered at all. He would 
be found in time, etc. All this in answer to questions. 

Suddenly he singled out one man and drew him away 
from the crowd, and to Ruth's horror they came across the 
road straight toward where she stood. She gave herself 
up for lost. She turned and would have fled, but she 
could not. Instead, she simply dropped down on the 
ground and cowered beside the fence. They came and 
leant against the fence within ten feet of her, on the other 
side, and began to talk. The other person was a stranger 
to Ruth ; but his voice was that of an educated man, and 
Steve Allen called him Helford, which Ruth remembered 
to have heard somewhere before. 

" Well, where is he ? " the stranger asked Steve, as soon 
as they were out of earshot of the crowd. 

" Somewhere, shut up — hidden," said Allen. 


" Yes, and that's not the worst of it." 

" What do you mean ? He'll turn up all right." 

" You think so ! He'll turn up in jail, and you and I 
shall too, if we don't mind. He's been trapj^ed and spir- 
ited away — by detectives, sent up here on purpose." 

" What ! Oh, nonsense ! You're daft about the boy. 
Many another young fellow's gone off and disa^^peared, to 
turn up with nothing worse than a splitting head and 
somewhat damaged morals. You yourself, for instance, 
when you were not much older than he " 

" Never mind about that," interrupted Steve ; " wait 
until I tell you all, and you'll see. I'm not given to being 
scary, I think." 

He went on to tell of Rupert's falling in with the men 

418 r.ED ROCK 

at the station, and of his disai^pearance, including all that 
his friends had learned of him botJi before and after he 
left. The man gave a low whistle of amazement and 

" The little fool ! What makes you think they were 
detectives?"" He was groping for a shred of encourage- 

" I know it/' said Steve ; and he gave his reasons. 

Euth was astonished to see how closely his reasoning fol- 
lowed and unravelled the facts as she knew them. 

" Well, where is he now ? Back in the city ?" 

"No. They haven't got him there yet. They have hid 
him somewhere and are keeping him drunk, and will try 
taking him off by night." 

" Well, what are you going to do ? " 

''Find him and take him away from them," said Steve. 
"If Leech or Still were in the County I'd find him in an 
hour ; but they're both in the city — been away a fortnight 
hatching this thing." 

"All right, I'm Avith you. But where'll we look ? You 
say Leech and Still are both away in the city, and you 
don't think he's at either of their places ? Where can 
he be?" 

" I don't know, but I'll find out if he's above ground," 
said Steve, "and some day I'll call Jonadab Leech and 
Iliram Still to a settling." 

" I'll tell you, Allen, where you may find him, or, at any 
rate, find a trace of him. At that new carpet-bagger's, Mr. 

" Nonsense ! Why don't you look in my office ?" 

" You may say so ; but I'll tell you you'd better look. 
You all over here think he's different from the rest : but I 
tell you he isn't. When it comes to these questions, they're 

all tarred with the same stick, and a d d black stick 

it is." 

Ruth stirred with indignation. She wished she could 
have sprung up and faced him. 


*' We won't discuss that," said Steve, coldly. " Major 
Welch certainly differs widely from yon and me on all 
political questions — perhaps on many other questions. 
But he is a gentleman, and Fll stake my life on his being 
ignorant of anything like this. Gentlemen are the same 
the world over in matters of honor." 

" Well, maybe so — if you think so," said the other, im- 
pressed by Steve's seriousness. " But I don't see why you 
should think he's so different from all the rest of them. 
You didn't use to find one Yankee so much better than 

Steve declared haughtily that he did not wish to discuss 
that question further, and that he would have his horse 
fed and go to his office to make out a few notices and be 
ready to start off again in an hour. 

" The roads are all picketed, and if they get him to the 
city it will be by a route they won't want to take them- 
selves," he said grimly, as he turned away. 

" Suppose he's already in jail somewhere ? " asked his 

" We'll take him out," said Steve, stopping short. 
" There isn't a jail in this commonwealth that will hold 
him, if I discover where he is." 

"All right, we'll be with you, old fellow," said his 
friend, his good-humor restored ; " and if we could get a 
pull at some of your carpet-bag friends at the same time 
so much the better. You are not the only one who holds 
a due-bill of McEafile's, and has a score against Leech. 
He arrested my father and kept him in jail a week." His 
voice had suddenly grown bitter. 

When they moved off, Ruth rose and crept hurriedly 
away, stealing along by the fence until she was in the 
shadow of the offices. She knew she had not a moment to 
lose. She went up to the offices and scanned the doors. 
Fortunately, by even the faint glimmer of the stars she 
could make out the big names on the signs. She tried the 
door on which was the name of '* Allen and Gray," and. 


finding it locked, slipped her envelope under it and crept 
quickly away. 

She was just in time, for she heard steps behind her and 
caught sight of a tall figure striding across the green 
toward the door she had just left. She found and 
mounted her horse and rode away, keeping well in the 
shadow of the trees. As she turned into the road at a 
sharp canter she almost ran over an old negro who was 
walking rapidly toward the village. It was so close that 
she could not avoid calling out to him ; but she was not 
quite in time, for her horse touched him enough to topple 
him over. Ruth pulled in instantly and, turning around, 
went back to the man, who was scrambling to his feet 
grumbling and mumbling to himself : 

''Who d'name o' King dat ridin' over me ? " 

Ruth recognized old Waverley. 

" Oh ! Are you hurt, uncle ? I hope not. I'm so 
sorry. It was so dark I couldn't see you," she said, solici- 
tously. The tone removed the old man's irritation im- 

" Yes'm — 'tis mighty dark, sho nough. Nor'm, I ain 
hut none — jes kind o' skeered, dat's all. I did'n hut yo' 
hoss, did I ? Ken you tell me, is dee done heah anything 
o' my young marster ? I jes hurryin' down heah to git 
de lates' wud 'bout him." 

Ruth told him that his young master had not been seen 
yet ; but that he would certainly be found within the next 
twenty-four hours, and that she was sure he would be dis- 
covered to be all right. 

''Well, I certney is glad to heah you say dat, mistis," 
said the old fellow, '"cause my mistis is almost distracted, 
and so is he mammy and all de fam'ly. I done walked 
down heah three times to-day to git de news, an' I know I 
ain' gvvine shet my eyes till he found. Hits all de wuck 
of dat Cun'l Leech an' dat debble, Hiram Still, an' he son. 
I knows 'em," he broke out, fiercely, "and I'll git at de 
bottom of it yit." He came near and gazed up at Rath 


with a look of such keen scrutiny, that to get away from 
liim Kuth made her horse start. " I shall have to let him 
go," she said, and at a touch of her heel her horse bounded 

" I knows your hoss and I knows you too, now/' said 
the old man, looking after her as she dashed away in the 
darkness. " "Well, well ! " and he went on into the village. 

When Eutli reached home, to her relief she found that 
her mother had not yet returned. A message had come 
that Miss Bush was ill and she would be detained until 
very late, but would certainly be back by bed-time. 



When Steve Allen stepped across liis threshold he 
caught the gleam of something white lying on the floor 
just inside the door-sill. He picked up the slip of paper 
and, striking a light, looked at it. The writing on it was 
in a cramped backhand that Steve did not know and could 
hardly read. At last, however, he made it out : 

" Your friend is in jail here on charge of murder. Will 
be taken to city to-night for trial." It had been signed, 
" A Friend," but this had been much scratched over and 
was almost illegible. Steve read the words a^ain and 
again. Suddenly he left his office and walked quickly 
around the back part of the court-green, looking in all the 
corners and dark places. It had occurred to him that he 
had heard someone retreating as he approached his office. 
Everything, however was quiet, and the only sound he 
heard was that of a horse galloping on the road some dis- 
tance away. As he stood still to listen again it died away. 
In a few minutes he had called his friend Helford into his 
office and laid before him his information. Helford re- 
ceived it coldly — thought it might be a trick to throw 
them olf the track and obtain delay. He argued that even 
if it would have been possible for Eupert Gray to be put 
in jail right under their noses, he could not have been 
kept there all day without its being discovered. Steve was 
of a different opinion. Perdue, the jailer, was a creature 
of Leech's and Still's. Something assured him that the 
information was true, and he laid his plans accord- 
ingly. The men who were at the county seat were re- 
quested to wait, without being told what was the reason : 



riders were sent off to call iu the searchers who were still 
engaged, a rendezvous near the village being appointed. 
Steve, leaving the men present under charge of Helford, 
rode off as if to continue the search ; hut a short distance 
down the road he turned, and, riding back by another way, 
tied his horse and returned to the court-green. He en- 
tered at the rear, walked up to the jail and rang the bell. 
After some delay a man peeped at him through the wicket 
and asked who it was. Steve gave his name, and said 
he wanted to see the jirisoner who had been brought in 
the night before. The man hesitated a second, then said 
there was no such prisoner there. He took a half step 
backward to close the shutter, but Steve was too quick 
for him. He was sure from the jailer's manner that he 
was lying to him. The next second there was a scraping 
sound on the grating and the man found a pistol-barrel 
gleaming at him through the bars, right under his nose. 

"Stir, and you are a dead man," said Steve. "Open 
the door." 

'' I ain't got the keys." 

" Call for them. Don't stir ! I'll give you till I count 
five : one — two — three " 

" Here they are, sir." The pistol -barrel was shining 
right in his face, and Steve's eyes were piercing him 
tlirough the bars. He unlocked the door, aud Steve 
stepped in. 

" Take me to Mr. Gray's cell instantly, and remember a 
single word from you means your death." Steve expected 
to be taken to one of the front rooms in which the pris- 
oners of better condition were usually kept ; but his guide 
went on, and at length stopped at the door of one of the 
worst cells in the place, where the most abandoned crimi- 
nals were usually confined. Two negro prisoners, in an- 
other cell, seeing Captain Allen, howled at him in glee 
through their bars. 

"You don't mean to say that you've put him in here ?" 
Steve asked, sternly. 


*' That's orders," said the man, and added, explanatorily, 
as he fumbled at the lock. " You see, he was pretty wild 
when they brought him here." 

" Don't defend it," said Steve, in a voice which brought 
the turnkey up shaking. 

*'No, suli — no, suh — I ain' defendin' it. I jest tell in' 
you." He unlocked the door. 

'' Walk in," said Steve, and, pushing the other ahead, he 
stepped in behind him and took his light. It was so dark 
that he could not at first make out anything inside ; but 
after a moment a yet darker spot in the general gloom be- 
came dimly discernible. 

" Eupert? " Steve called. At the voice the dark shadow 
stirred. " Rupert Gray? " 

There was a cry from the dark corner. 

" Steve ! Oh, Steve ! Steve' ! " 

" Come here," said Steve, who was keeping close beside 
the jailer. 

" I can't. Oh, Steve ! " 

*' Why not ? — Over there ! " he said, with a motion to the 
jailer, to walk before him. 

*'I'm chained." 

**What!" The young man turned and caught the 
jailer by the shoulder, and with a single twist of his pow- 
erful arm sent him before- him spinning into the corner of 
the room. Stooping, Steve felt the boy and the chain by 
which he was bound to a great ring in the wall. The 
next second he faced the keeper. 


For a moment the man thought he was as good as dead. 
Steve's eyes blazed like coals of fire, and he looked like 
a lion about to spring. The man began to protest his 
innocence, swearing with a hundred oaths that he had 
nothing to do with it; that it was all Leech's doings — his 
orders and other men's work. He himself had tried to 
prevent it. 

Steve cut him short. 


''Liar, save yourself the trouble. What are their 
names ? Where are they ? " 

•^I don't know. They've gone, I don't know where. 
They went away this mornin' before light." 

" Get the key and unlock that chain." 

The man swore that he did not have it — the men had 
taken it with them. 

Steve reflected a moment. He had no time to lose. 

"Oh, Steve ! nevermind me/' broke in Eupert, his self- 
possession recovered. " Go — I'm not worth saving. Oh, 
Steve ! if you only knew ! I have done you an irreparable 

injury. I don't mind myself, but " His voice failed 

him and his words ended in a sob. " I'm not crying be- 
cause I'm here or am afraid," he said, presently. " But if 
you only knew " 

Steve Allen leant down over him and, throwing his arm 
around him, kissed him as if he had been a child. 

" That's all right," he said, tenderly, and whis^Jered 
something which made the boy exclaim : 

"Oh, Steve ! Steve !" The next moment he said, sol- 
emnly, "I promise you that I will never touch another 
drop of liquor again as long as I live." 

" Never mind about that now," said Steve. 

"But I want to promise. I want to make you that 
promise. It would help me, Steve. I have never broken 
my word." 

" Wait until you are free," said Steve, indulgently. He 
turned to the keeper, who still stood cowering in the corner. 

" Come — walk before me." As they left the cell he said 
to him : " In a half-hour two hundred men will be here. 
These doors will go like paper. If they find that boy 
chained and you are here, your life will not be worth a 
button. Nothing but God Almighty could save you." He 
left him at the front door and went out. A number of men 
were already assembling about the jail. It transpired 
afterward that old Waverley had seen Steve enter the jail, 
and, fearing that he might not get out again, had told 


Andy Stamper, who had just arrived. As Steve came out 
of the door Andy stepped up to him. 

" We were going in after you," he said. 

Steve took him aside and had a talk with him, telling 
him the state of the case and putting him in charge until 
his return. 

" If Perdue wants to come out, let him do so," ho said, as 
he left him. As he walked across the green he fell in with 
Waverley, who gave an exclamation of joy. 

*' I sutney is glad to see you. I was mighty feared dee'd 
keep you in dyah." He was very full of something he 
wanted to tell him. Steve did not have time to listen then, 
but said he wanted him, and took him along. 

"Well, jes' tell me dis, Marse Steve ; is yon fonn' my 
young marster ? " 

" Yes, we have." 

" Well, thank Gord for dat !" exclaimed old Waverley. 
•'Whar ishe ?" 

Steve pointed back to the jail. " In there.^* 

The old man gave an outcry. 

" In dyah ! My young marster ? My marster and mistis' 
son ! Go way, Marse Steve — you jokin' ; don't fool me 
'bout dat." 

" He's in there, and in chains ; and I want you to cut 
them off him," said Steve. 

The old man hroke out into a tirade. He ended : 

''' Dat I will ! De's a blacksmiif shop yonder. I'll git a 
hammer and cole chisel d'rectly." He started off. When 
he arrived, the shop had already been levied on for sledges 
and other implements. 

The crowd was beginning 'to be excited. Steve took 
charge at once. He spoke a few words in a calm, level, 
assured tone ; stated the fact of Rupert G:ray's arrest by 
Leech's order, not for his own offence, but more for that 
of others, of his imprisonment in irons in the jail, and of 
his own intention to take him out. And ho denlarod his 
belief that it was the desire of those assembled, that he 


shonlfl command tliem, and expressed his readiness to 
do so. 

The response they gave showed their assent. 

Then they must obey his orders. 

They would^ they said. 

*'The first is — absoh^te silence.'* 

** Yes, that's right," came from all sides. 

*' The second is, that we will release our friend, but take 
no other step — commit no other violence than that of 
breaking the doors and taking him out." 

" Oh, h — 1 ! We'll hang every d d nigger and dog 

in the place," broke in a voice near him. Steve wheeled 
around and faced the speaker. He was a man named 
Bushman, a turbulent fellow. As quick as thought the 
pistol that had been shining under Perdue's nose a little 
before was gleaming before this man's eyes. 

" Step out and go home ! " Steve pointed up the road. 

The man began to growl. 

" Go," said Steve, imperiously, and the crowd applauded. 

''That's right, send him off." They opened a path 
through which the ruffian slunk, growling, away. 

" Now, men, fall in." 

They fell in like soldiers, and Steve marched them off to 
the spot he had appointed as the place for others to join 

The rendezvous was in a pine forest a little off the road, 
and only a quarter of a mile or so back of the village. 
Near the road the pines were thick, having sprung up 
since the war ; but here, in a space of some hundreds of 
yards each way, the trees, the remnants of a former growth, 
were larger and less crowded, leaving the ground open and 
covered with a thick matting of " tags," on which the 
feet fell as noiselessly as on a thick carpet, and where even 
the tramp of horses made hardly a sound. It was an 
impressive body assembled there in the darkness, silent 
and grim, the stillness broken only by the muffled stamp- 
ing and tramping of a restless horse, by an almost inau- 


dible murmnr, or an order given in a low, quiet tone. 

By a sort of soldierly mstinct the line had fallen into al- 
most regimental form, and, from time to time, as new 
recruits came up, directed by the pickets on the roads out- 
side, they, too, fell into order. 

Just as they were about to move, a horseman galloped 
up, and a murmnr went through the ranks. 

^'Dr. Gary!" 

Whether it was surprise, pleasure, or regret, one at first 
could scarcely have told. 

"Where is Captain Allen?" asked the Doctor, and 
pushed his way to the head of the line. A colloquy took 
place between him and Steve in subdued but earnest tones, 
the Doctor urging something, Steve replying, while the 
men waited, interested, but patient. The older man was 
evidently protesting, the other defending. At length Dr. 
Gary said : 

** Well, let me speak a word to them." 

*' Gertainly," assented Steve, and turned to the men. 

** Dr. Gary disagrees with us as to the propriety of 
the step we are about to take and urges its abandonment. 
He desires to present his views. You will hear him with 
the respect due to the best and wisest among us." He 
drew back his horse, and the Doctor rode forward and be- 
gan to speak. 

" First, I wish you to know that I am with you, heart 
and soul — for better, for worse ; flesh of your flesh, and 
bone of your bone. Next to my God and my wife and 
child, I love my relatives and neighbors. Of all my rela- 
tives, perhaps, I love best that boy lying in yonder jail, 
and I would give my life to save him. But I could not 
kneel to my God to-night if I did not declare to you my 
belief — my profound conviction — that this is not the way 
to go about it. I know that the wrongs we are suf- 
fering cry to God, but I urge you to unite with me in 
trying to remedy them by law, and not by violence. Let us 
unite and make an appeal to the enlightened sense of the 


American peojile, of the world, wliicli tliey will be forced to 
hear. Violence on our side is the only ground which they 
can urge for their justification. It is a terrible weapon we 
are furnishing them, and with it, not only can they defeat 
us now, but they can injure us for years to come." 

He went on for ten or fifteen minutes, urging his views 
with impressive force. Never was a stronger appeal made. 
But it fell on stony ears. The crowd was touched by 
him, but remained unchanged. It had resolved, and its 
decision was unaltered. When he ended, there was, for a 
moment, a low murmur all through the ranks, which died 
down, and they looked to their captain. Steve did not 
hesitate. In a firm, calm voice he said : 

" For the first time in my life almost, I find myself un- 
able to agree in a matter of principle with the man you 
have just heard. At the same time, this may be only my 
personal feeling, and, recognizing the force of what he has 
said, I wish all who may think as he does to fall out of line. 
The rest will remain as they are. If all shall leave, feel- 
ing as I do I shall still undertake to rescue Eupert Gray. 
Those who disagree with me will ride forward." 

There was a rustle and movement all down the ranks, 
but not a man stirred from his place. As the men looked 
along the line and took in the fact, there went up a low, 
suppressed sound of gratification and exultation. 

" Silence, men," said the captain. He turned his horse 
to face Dr. Gary. 

"Dr. Gary, I beg you to believe that we all recognize 
the wisdom of your views and their unselfishness, and we 
promise you that no violence shall be offered a soul beyond 
forcing the doors and liberating the boy." 

A murmur of assent came from the ranks. Dr. Gary 

'' I shall wait at the tavern," he said, "to see if my ser- 
vices may be of any use." 

Steve detailed two men to conduct him through the 
guards, and he rode slowly away. 


A few minutes later Captain Allen gave the order, and, 
wheeling, the column marched off through the dusk. 

Steve had made the men disguise themselves by tying 
strips of cotton across their faces. He himself wore no 
mask. When he arrived at the jail he learned from Andy 
Stamper that Perdue had taken advantage of the hint 
given him and had escaped. 

" I had hard work at first to git him out," said Andy. 
" I had to go uj) to the door and talk to him ; but when he 
found what was comin', he was glad enough to go. I let 
him slip by, and last I seen of him, he was cuttin' for the 
woods like a fox with the pack right on him. If he kept 
up that lick he's about ten miles off by this time." 

The breaking into the jail was not a difficult matter. 
It meant only a few minutes' work bursting open the outer 
door with a heavy sledge-hammer, and a little more in 
battering down the iron inner doors. During the whole 
time the crowd without was as quiet as the grave, the 
silence broken only by the orders given and the ringing 
blows of the iron hammers. But it was very different in- 
side. The two or three negroes confined within were wild 
with terror. They all thought that the mob was after 
them, and that their last hour was come ; and they who an 
hour before had hooted at the visitor, yelled and prayed 
and besought mercy in agonies of abject terror. When 
the squad detailed by Steve passed on to the cell in which 
Rupert was confined and began to break down the door, 
these creatures quieted a little, but even then they prayed 
earnestly, their faces, ashy with fear in the glare of the 
torches, pressed to the bars and their eyeballs almost start- 
ing from their sockets. When the door gave way the low 
cry that came up from the party sent them flying and 
trembling back into the darkness of their cells. 

It took a considerable time to cut the irons that bound 
the prisoner, who, under the excitement of the rescuing 
party's entrance, had been overjoyed, but a moment later 
had keeled over into Andy Stamper's arms. Under the 


steady blows of the old blacksmith's hammer, even that was 
at length accomplished, and the rescuers moved out bear- 
ing Eupert with them. As they emerged from the build- 
ing with the boy in their arms, the long-pent-up feeling of 
the crowd outside burst forth in one wild cheer, which 
rang through the village and was heard miles away on the 
roads. It was quickly hushed ; the crowd withdrew into 
the woods, and in a few minutes the jail was left in the 
darkness as silent as the desert. 

The news of the assault on the jail and the liberation of 
the prisoner thrilled through the County next morning, 
and the thrill extended far beyond the confines of the sec- 
tion immediately interested. The party of detectives who 
Avere waiting to take their prisoner to the city made their 
way by night through the country to a distant station, to 
take the cars ; and Leech and McRaffle, who had come on 
the morning train to meet them, deemed it prudent to 
catch it on its way back and return to the city. 

Ruth, the morning after her visit to the court-house and 
the rescue of Ruijert, was in a state of great unrest. 
Finally she mounted her horse and paid a visit to Blair 
Gary. They were all in intense excitement. Ruth her- 
self was sensible of constraint ; but she had an object in 
view which made it necessary to overcome it. So she 
chatted on easily, almost gayly. At length she made an 
excuse to get Blair oil by herself. In the seclusion of 
Blair's room the secret came out. Ruth, on her part, 
learned that Rupert was to be sent off ; Blair did not know 
where. One difficulty was the want of means to send 
him. This Ruth had divined. With a burning face, she 
told Blair she had a great favor to ask of her ; and when 
Blair wonderingly assented, she took from her pocket a roll 
of money — what seemed to Blair an almost vast amount. 
It was her own, she said ; and the favor was : that Blair 
would help her to get that money to Rupert v/ithout any- 
one knowing where it came from. She wanted Rujiert to 
go out to the "West and join Reely Thurston there. Blair 


demurred at this. Captain Thurston was an army of- 
ficer, and Eupert was . She paused. Kuth flushed. 

She would be guaranty that Thurston wouhl stand his 

There was also another thing which Blair discovered, 
though she did not tell Euth that she had done so. Slae 
simply rose and kissed her. This discovery decided her to 
accept Euth's olfer. It seemed to draw Euth nearer to 
her and to make her one with themselves. So she told 
Euth where Eupert was. He was at that time at the 
house of Steve's old mammy, Peggy. He was to be con- 
ducted out of the County that night. Whether he could 
be persuaded to go to Captain Thurston, Blair did not 
know ; but she promised to aid Euth so far as to suggest 
it, and try to persuade him to do so. There were two 
difficulties. One was that she might be watched, and it 
might lead to Eupert's re-arrest. She did not state what 
the other was. But Euth knew. She, too, could divine 
things without their being explained. If, however, Blair 
could not meet Jacquelin Gray, there was no reason 
why Euth herself could not. And she determined to 
go. Suddenly Blair changed. She, too, would go. She 
could not let Euth go alone. 

That evening, toward dusk, old Peggy was " turning 
about " in her little yard, when the sound of horses' ieet 
caught her ear. As quick as thought the old woman ran 
to her door and spoke a few words to some one inside, and 
the next moment the back door opened and a figure 
sprang across the small cleared space that divided the 
cabin from the woods, and disappeared among tlie trees. 
In a little while the riders appeared in sight, aud whcji 
the old negress turned, to her surprise, they were two 
ladies. When they took off their veils, to old Peggy's 
still greater astonishment, they were Miss Blair and the 
young lady who had visited her with her young master 
the evening of the rain-storm. 

The old woman greeted them pleasantly, but when they 


said they wanted to see Rupert Gray, her suspicions re- 
turned again. 

"He ain't heah/' she said, shortly. "What you want 
wid him ? " Her eyes gleamed with shrewdness. 

" We want to see him." 

" Well, you wou' see him heah." 

They began to cajole. 

" Can't you trust me ? " asked Blair. 

But old Peggy was firm. 

"I don' trus' nobody. I ain' got nothin' 't all to do 
wid it. Why n't you go ax Marse Steve?" she asked 
Ruth, suddenly. Ruth's face flushed. 

The dilemma was unexpectedly relieved by the appear- 
ance of Rupert himself. From his covert he had recog- 
nized the visitors, and could not resist the tem2:)tation to 
join them. Old Peggy was in a great state of excitement 
iit his appearance. She began to scold him soundly for 
liis imprudence. But the boy only laughed at her. 

Blair and Ruth took him aside and began to broach the 
object of their visit. At first he was obstinate. He would 
not hear of the plan they proposed. In fact, he was not 
going away at all, he declared. He would not be run 
out of the County. He would stay and fight it out, and 
let them try him, if they wished to get all they wanted. 
He showed the butt of a pistol, with boyish pride. 

In this state of the case, Ruth began to plead with him 
on his brother's account, and Blair, as her argument, took 
Steve. They said he was bound in honor to go, if they 
wished it. Ruth deftly put in a word about Thurston, 
and the opportunity the trip would give Rupert to see the 
world. He could join in the campaigns against the In- 
dians out there, if he wished ; and, finally, she begged him 
to go and join Thurston, as a favor to her. 

These arguments at length prevailed, and Rupert said 
he would go. 

As his friends were soon to come for him, the girls had 
to leave, which they did after binding old Peggy over 


with many solemn promises not to breathe to a single soul 
a word of their visit. "If she does/' said Ituport, " I'll 
come back here and make her think the Ku Klux ai'c 
after her." The old woman laughed at the threat. 

" Go Vay from heah, boy ! What yoii know 'bout Ku 
Klux ? You done told too much 'bout 'em now." 

This home-thrust shut Rupert up. Blair put into his 
hand the package that Ruth had given her and kissed him 
good-by, and he turned to Ruth. 

Ruth said, as she took his hand, " Rupert, I am going to 
ask you to grant me that favor you once promised me you 
would grant." 

The boy's eyes lit up. 

"I will do it." 

"I want you to promise me you will not drink any 

" I promise," he said, softly, and bent over and kissed 
her hand. As he stood up, the girl leant forward and 
kissed him. He turned to Blair and, throwing his arms 
around her neck, suddenly burst into tears. 

" Oh, Blair, Blair," he sobbed, " I can't go." 

The girls soothed him, and when they left a little later 
he was calm and firm. 

Within a little time other detectives came, and some 
who were not known as detectives performed the functions 
of that office. But no trace of the rescued boy was found. 
The nearest approach to a clew was a report that Andy 
Stamper and old Waverley, a short time after the breakiug 
into the jail, took a long journey with Andy's covered 
wagon into another State, " selling things," and that Steve 
Allen and several other men were about the same time in 
the same region, and even rode with the wagon for some 

However, this was not traced up. And it illustrates the 
times, that two accounts of the affair of the rescue were 
pul)lished and given circulation : one that the prisouer 
was rescued by his friends, the other that he was taken 


from the jail by a band of Ku Klux outlaws and murdered, 
because he had confessed to having taken part in some of 
their outrages and had given information as to his accom- 
plices. This was the story that was most widely circulated 
in some parts of the country and was finally accepted. 



The term approached at wliieli tlie Red Rock suit was 
to be tried, aud both parties made preparations for it, A 
number of the prominent members of the Bar had vohin- 
teered as Jacquelin's counseL They knew the character of 
the new judge. Bail, and they considered Jacquelin's cause 
that of every man in the State. Leech, on his side, had as- 
sociated with him as counsel for Still several lawyers of well- 
known ability, if of less recognized integrity ; and Major 
Welch had retained old Mr. Bagby to represent his in- 
terest. As the term drew near. Still applied to Mr. Bagby 
to represent him too. The old lawyer declined. The in- 
terest of his client. Major Welch, might in some way con- 
flict, though he could not see how ; in away he already rep- 
resented Still, since to protect his client he had to look 
after Still's title also. " Besides, Still already had lawyers 
enough to ruin his case," he said, " and he would charge 
him a big fee." But these reasons were not sufficient for 
Still. He wished Mr. Bagby to represent him. He told 
him Leech had employed those others ; but he wanted a 
man he knew. " There wasn't a man in the State could 
carry a jury like Mr. Bagby, and he did not mind the fee." 

Flattery is a key that fits many locks. So the old law- 
yer consented, after consulting Major Welch, and notifying 
Still that if at any time or at any point in the case he 
found his interest conflicting with Major Welch's he would 
give him up. Still grew more anxious and sought so many 
interviews with the old counsellor that finally his patience 
wore out, and he gave his new client to understand that 



he had other business, and if he wanted so much of his 
time he must increase his fees. Still consented even to 
this, with the effect of arousing suspicion on the old law- 
yer's part that there must be something in his client's case 
which he did not understand. " Something in it he has 
not let out," reflected the old lawyer. "I must get at 

Not very long after this arrangement. Still asked Mr. 
Bagby to come and see him at his home on business of 
great importance, alleging as a reason for his not going to 
see Mr. Bagby that he was too unwell to travel. The note 
for some reason offended Mr. Bagby. However, .as he had 
to go to Major Welch's that night, he rode by Eed Rock 
to see Still. He found him in a state of great anxiety 
and nervousness. Still went over the same ground that 
he had been over with him already several times ; wanted 
to know what he thought of the bill, and of the Grays' 
chances of success. The old laAvyer frowned. Up to the 
time of beginning a suit he was ready to be doubtful, 
prudent, cautious, even anxious, in advising ; but the fight 
once begun he was in it to the end ; doubt disappeared ; 
defeat was not among the possibilities. It was an intel- 
lectual contest and he rejoiced in it ; put into it every 
nerve and every power he possessed, and was ready to 
trample down every adversary from the sheriff who served 
the writ, to the Supreme Court itself. So now, when 
Still, almost at the entrance of the term, was whimpering 
as to his chances, the old lawyer answered him with scant 

" The bill ? I think the same of it I thought when you 
asked me before ; that it is a good bill in certain respects 
and a poor one in others ; — good as to your accounts show- 
ing rents and profits, and too general as to the bonds. It's 
a good thing you got hold of so much of Gray's paper. I 
knew he was a free liver and a careless man ; but I had 
no idea he owed so much money." He was speaking rather 
to himself. 


''What do yon mean ?" faltered Still, his face flushing 
and then growing pale. 

"That if they can prove what they allege about tlio 
crops in the years just before and after the war, they'll 
sweep you for rents and profits, and you'll need the bonds." 
He reflected for a minute, then looked at Still. 

" Mr. Still, tell me exactly how you came by that big 
bond." He shut liis eyes to listen, so did not see the 
change that came over his client's face. 

" What'd you think of a compromise ? " asked Still, sud- 

*' Have they offered one ? " 

*'Well, not exactly," said Still, who was lying ; ''but I 
know they'd like to make one. What'd you think of our 
kind of broaching the subject ? " 

" What ! You ? After that bill aspersing your charac- 
ter ! " He looked at Still keenly. " Do as you please ! 
But Major Welch will offer no compromise." He rose and 
walk.ed off from Still for a moment, formulating in his 
mind some sentence that would relieve him from his re- 
lation of counsel to him. It was the first time he had 
been in the house since Still's occupancy ; and as he paced 
across the hall, the pictures lining the Avails arrested his 
attention, and he began to examine them. He stopped 
in front of the "Indian-killer," and gazed at it atten- 

" Astonishingly like him !" he muttered, musingly ; and 
then after another look he asked, " Do you know whether 
there really was a cabinet behind that picture or not ? " 
Still did not answer, but his face turned a sudden white. 
The old lawyer had his back to him. He stepped up 
nearer the picture and began to examine the frame more 
closely. " I believe there is," lie said, musingly. " Yes, 
that red paint goes under." He took out a large pocket- 
knife. " Those nails are loose. I believe I'll see. " 
He inserted the blade of his knife and began to prize at 
the frame. 


" My G — d ! don't do that ! " exclaimed Still ; and, giv- 
ing a bound, he seized the old lawyer's arm. 

The latter turned on him in blank amazement. Still's 
face was as white as death. 

" What in the d — 1 is the matter with you ?" demanded 
Mr. Bagby. 

"Don't! for God's sake!" stammered Still, and stag- 
gered into a chair, the perspiration standing out on his 

" What's the matter with you, man ? " Mr. Bagby poured 
out a glass of whiskey from a decanter on the table and 
gave it to him. The liquor revived him, and in a moment 
he began to talk. 

It was nothing, he said, with a ghastly attemj)t at a 
smile. He had of late been having a sort of spells ; had 
not been sleeping well — his son was giving him some physic 
for it ; 'twas a sort of nervousness, and he supposed he just 
had one, and couldn't help thinking of that story of the 
picture coming down always meaning bad luck, and the 
story of the old fellow being seen on horseback at night. 
Some of the niggers had been saying that he had been seen 
at night once or twice lately riding around, and he sup- 
posed that had got in his mind. But of course he didn't 
believe any such lies as that. 

" I hope not," sniSed the old lawyer. He rose and took 
up his hat and saddlebags. Still urged him to stay ; he 
had had his horse put in the stable and fed ; but Mr. 
Bagby said he must go, he wished to see Major Welch. He 
had made up his mind that he Avould not remain in the case 
as Still's counsel. He could not get over the feeling that 
there was something in Still's case which Still had not 
confided to him, or the idea of his wishing to compromise 
after a charge of fraud ; and the rough way in wliicli Still 
had seized his arm and had spoken to him had offended 
him. So he would not be his guest. He told Still that 
he felt that he could not act further as his counsel, in asso- 
ciation with his other counsel. Airain Still's face blanched. 


He offered to throw them all over — except Leech. He was 
obliged to keep Leech ; but the others he would let go. 
This, however, Mr. Bagby would not hear of. 

As it was late, and the servants had retired, Still walked 
with Mr. Bagby to the stable to get his horse. He con- 
tinued to urge him to remain in the suit as his counsel. 
But the old lawyer was firm. 

As they approached the stables there came to them from 
the field over beyond the gardens and toward Major Welch's 
the distant neigh of a horse. Still clutched Mr. Bagby's 

" My G— d ! did you hear that ? " 

" What ? Yes — one of your horses over in your past- 
ure ?" 

^' No, there ain't no horses over in that field, or in a field 
between here and Stamper's house. It's all in crop. That's 
over toward the graveyard." 

" Oh ! the d 1 ! " the old man exclaimed, impatiently. 

But Still seized him. 

" Look ! Look yonder ! " he gasped. The lawyer 
looked, and at the moment the outline of a man on horse- 
back was clearly defined against the skyline on the crest of 
a hill. How far away it was he could not tell ; but appar- 
ently it was just behind the dark clump of trees where lay 
tlie old Gray burying-ground. The next second the moon 
was shrouded and' the horseman faded out. 

When Mr. Bagby reached Major Welch's, the latter came 
out to meet him : he had sat up for him. 

"I thought you had come a half-hour ago. I fancied I 
heard your horse neigh," he said. 

As he went to call a servant, he picked up from a small 
side-porch a parcel wrapped around with paper. He took 
it in to the light. It was a large bunch of jonquils, ad- 
dressed to Euth. 

" Ah !" thought the old lawyer, with a chuckle, " that 
is what our ghostly horseman was doing." 

The next morning, when Major Welch and his guest 


came to breakfast, the table was already decorated with 
Jonquils, which were lighting it up with their golden 
glow ; and one or two of them were pinned on Miss Ruth's 
dainty white dress. 

Both Major Welch and the guest remarked on the 
beauty of the flowers, and. the Major mentioned his sur- 
prise that Euth should have left them out on the porch 
overnight. The remark was quite casual, and the Major 
was not looking at Euth at the moment ; but the old lawyer 
was looking, and his eyes twinkled as he noticed the deep 
color that rushed up into the girl's cheeks. No age is too 
great to be stirred by the sight of a romance, and the old 
fellow's countenance softened as he looked at the young- 

'' Lucky dog," he thought, " that night rider ! I won- 
der who he is ? I'd give my fee in this case to be able to 
call up that blush. I remember doing that same thing 
once — forty odd years ago. The flowers faded, and tlie 
girl — My dear, will you give me one of those jonquils ? " 
he broke off, suddenly, addressing Euth. Euth, with a 
smile, pinned it on him, and the old man wore it with as 
proud a mien as he had ever had after a successful verdict." 

The apparition was too much for Hiram Still. A few 
days after his interview with Mr. Bagby, Still, without 
consulting any of his counsel, took the step on his own ac- 
count which he had suggested to the lawyer. If it went 
through, he could put it on the ground of friendship for 
Jacquelin's father. He selected his opportunity. 

Steve Allen was away that day and Jacquelin Gray was 
sitting in his office alone, when there was a heavy, slow 
step outside and, after a moment's interval, a knock at tlie 
door. '•' Come in," Jacquelin called ; and the door opened 
slowly and Hiram Still walked half-way in and stopped 
doubtfully. He was pale, and a simper was on his face. 
Jacquelin did not stir. His face flushed slightly. 

" Good-mornin', Mr. Jacquelin," said the visitor, in his 
most insinuating tone. 


" What do yon -want ? " Jacquelin asked, coldly. 

" Mr. Jacquelin, I thonght I^d come and see yon when 
yon was by yonrself like, and see if me and you couldn't 
come to a understandin' about our suit." 

Jacquelin was so taken by surprise that he did not try 
to answer immediately, and Still took it for assent and 
moved a step farther into the room. 

''1 don't want no lawyers between us ; we're old friends. 
I ain't got nothin' against you, and you ain't got nothin' 
against me ; and I don't want no trouble or nothin'. Your 
father was the best friend I ever had ; and I jist thought 
I'd come like a friend, and see if we couldn't settle things 

like old friends — kind of compromise, kind o' ?" He 

waved his hands expressively. 

Jacquelin found his voice. 

" Get out," he said, quietly, with a sudden paling of his 
face. Still's jaw dropped. Jacquelin rose to his feet, a 
gleam in his eyes. 

" Get out." There was a ring in his voice, and he took 
a step toward Still. But Still did not wait. He turned 
quickly and rushed out of the room, never stopping until 
he had got out of the court-green. 

He went to the bar of the tavern and ordered two drinks 
in rapid succession. 

*'D — n him !" he said, as he drained off his glass the 
second time. " If he had touched me I'd have shot him." 

" You're lookin' sort o' puny these days. Been sick ? " 
the man at tlie bar asked. 

" Yes — no — I don' know," said Still, gruffly. He went 
up and looked at himself in a small fly-siJeckled, tin-like 
mirror on the wall. " I ain't been so mighty well." 

''Been ridin' pretty hard lately 'bout your suit, I 
reckon ? " said the bar-keeper. 

" I don' know. I ain't afeared 'bout it. If they choose 
to fling away money tryin' to beat me out o' my i)roperty, 
I've got about as much as they have, I reckon." 

"I reckon you have." The man's manner was so dry 


that Still cut his eye at liim. " Why don't you try him 
with a compromise ? " Still looked at him sharply ; but he 
was washing a glass, and his face was as impassive as a mask. 

"D — n him ! I wouldn't compromise with him to save 
his life/' said Still. '' D' you think I'd compromise with a 
man as is aspersed my character ? " 

" I d'n' know. I hear there's to be a jury ; and I always 
heard, if there's one thing the L — d don' know, it's how a 
jury's goin' to decide." 

" I ain't afeared of that jury," said Still, on whom the 

whiskey was working. " I've got " He caught a look 

of sharpness on the man's face and changed. " I ain't 
afeared o' no jury — that jury or no other. And I ain't 
afeared o' Jacquelin Gray nor Mr. Steve Allen neither. I 
ain't afeared o' no man as walks.' ' 

''How about them as rides?" asked the bar-keeper, 

The effect was electric. 

" What d'you know about them as rides ? " asked Still, 
surlily, his face pale. 

" Nothin' but what I hear. I hear they's been a rider 
seen roun' Red Rock of nights, once or twice lately, ain't 
nobody caught up with." 

'' Some o' these scoundrels been a tryin' to skeer me," 
said Still, with an affectation of indifference. " But they 
don't know me. I'll try how a bullet '11 act on 'em next 
time I see one of 'em." 

"I would," said the bar-keeper. " You'se seen him, 
then ? I heard you had." 

Hiram saw that he had been trapped into an admission. 
Before he could answer, the man went on : 

" They say down this away it means something's goin' to 
happen. How's that old picture been standing of late ? " 

Still burst out in a rage, declaring that it had been stand- 
ing all right, and would continue to stand till every man 
against him was in the hottest region his imagination could 
picture. It seemed to him, he said, that everybody in the 


County was in league against him. The bar-keeper heard 
him unmoved ; but, when his customer left, he closed his 
door and sauntered over to the office of Allen and Gray. 

When Steve returned next day, Jacquelin told him of the 
interview with Still. Steve's eyes lit up. 

" By Jove ! It means there's something we don't know ! 
What did you do ? " 

" Threatened to kick him out of the room." 

" I supposed so. But, do you know, Jack," he said, after 
a moment's reflection, " I am not sure you did right ? 
As a man I feel just as you did ; but as a lawyer I think 
we should try and compromise. The case as it stands is a 
doubtful one on the law ; but what show do we stand be- 
fore his new Judge. You know he is hand in glove with 
them, and they say Avas appointed to try this very case. 
Eemember, there is Rupert." 

" I tell you what I will do," said Jacquelin, " and it is 
the only compromise I will make. You can go to him and 
say I will agree to dismiss the case. If he will give Rupert 
the full half of the place, including the house, and me the 
graveyard and Birdwood, with three hundred acres of land, 
I will dismiss the suit. You can go to him and say so. It 
will still leave him more than the value of Birdwood." 

" Birdwood ! What do you want with Bird ? " asked 

Steve, in amazement ; but at the moment his eye rested 
on Jacquelin's face. Jacquelin was blushing. " Oho ! " 
he exclaimed. " I see." 

" Not at all ! " said Jacquelin. " I have no hope what- 
ever. Everything has gone wrong with me. I feel as if 
as soon as I am interested, the very laws of nature become 
reversed ! " 

'' Nonsense ! The laws of nature arc never reversed ! " 
exclaimed Steve. ''It's nothing but our infernal stu- 
pidity or weakness. Have you ever said anything to her 
since ? " 

" No, I am done. She's an iceberg." 

** Iceberg ? When I saw her she was a volcano. Besides, 


ice melts/' said Steve, senteutiously. '' I'm engaged in the 
process myself." 

Jacqnelin could not talk lightly of Blair, and he rose 
and quietly walked out of the office. As his footsteps died 
away, Steve sat back in his chair and fell into a reverie, 
induced by Jacquelin's words and his reply. 

Jacquelin had just left the office when there was a step 
outside, and a knock so timid that Steve felt sure that it 
must be a woman. He called to the person to come in ; 
the knock, however, was repeated ; so Steve called out 
more loudly. The door opened slowly, and a young col- 
ored woman put her head in and surveyed the office care- 
fully. " Is dat you, Marse Steve ? " she asked, and in- 
serted her whole body. Then turning her back on Steve, 
she shut the cloor. 

Steve waited with interest, for his visitor was Martha, 
Jerry's wife, who was a maid at Major Welch's. It was not 
tlie first time Martha had consulted him. Now, however, 
Steve was puzzled, for on former occasions when she 
came to see him, Jerry had been on a sj)ree ; but Steve 
had seen Jerry only the evening before, and he was sober. 
Steve motioned the girl to a seat and waited. 

She was so embarrassed, however, that all slie could do 
was to tug at something which she held securely tied up 
in her apron. Steve tried to help her out. 

" Jerry drunk again ? I thought I had given him a 
lesson last time that would last him longer." 

" Nor, suh, he ain' drunk — yit. But I thought I'd 
come to 'suit you." Again she paused, and looked tim- 
idly around the room. 

"■ Well, what is it ? Has he threatened to beat you ? " 
he asked, a shade gathering on his brow. " He knows 
what he'll get if he tries that again." 

" Nor, suh," said Martha, quickly ; "I ain' feared o' 
dat. He know better 'n dat now — sence you an' my gran'- 
mother got hold o' him ; but " — her knot came untied, 
and suddenly she gained courage — "what I want to 'suit 


you tibout is clis : I want to ax yon, — is Mr. Spickit — 'lowed 
to write ' whiskey' down in my sto'-book ?" She clutched 
her book, and gazed at Steve as if the fate of the universe 
depended on the answer. 

Steve took the book and glanced over it. It was a 
small, greasy account-book, such as was kept by persons 
who dealt at the little country-stores about the County. 
Many of the items were simply *'Mdse.," but on the last 
two or three pages, the item " Whiskey '^ appeared with 
somewhat undue frequency. 

'' What do you mean ? " asked Steve. 

" Well, you see, it's disaway. Jerry, he gits his whiskey 
at Mr. Si)ickit's — some o' it — an' he say Mr. Spickit slicll 
write hit down on de book dat way, an " 

'' Oh ! You don't want him to have it ?" said Steve, a 
light breaking on him. 

" Nor, suh — dat ain't it. I don' mine he havin' de 
whiskey — I "don' mine he gittin' all he want — cuz I know 
he gwine drinh it. But I don' want him to have it put 
down dat away on de toolc. I is a member o' de chutch, 
and I don' want whiskey writ all over my book — dat's 
hit ! " 

'' Oh ! " Steve smiled acquiescingly. 

" An' I done tell Jerry so ; an' I done tell Mr. Spickit 
so, an' ax him not to do it." . 

*' Well, what do you want ? " 

" I wants him to put it down ^merchandise,' dat's all ; 
an' I come to ax you, can't you meek Jerry do it dat 

" Ah ! I see. Why, certainly I can." 

*^ An' I want to ax you dis : Jerry say, ef I don' stop 
meddlin' wid he business, he won' let me have no sto'- 
book, an' he gwine lef me ; dat he'll meek you git a di- 
vo'ce from me — an' I want to ax you ef he ken lef me jes 
cuz I want him to mark it merchandise ? Kin he git a 
divorce jes for dat ? " She was far too serious for Steve 
to laugh now. Her face was filled with anxiety. 


" Of course, lie cannot." 

" Well, will you write me dat down, so I ken show it to 

Steve gravely wrote a few lines, which, after reading to 
her, he folded with great solemnity and handed her. 

They read as follows : 


"I am of opinion that it is not a cause for divorce, 
either a vinculo mairimonii or a mensd ct tlioro, when a 
woman insists that the whiskey which her husband drinks, 
and which she pays for, shall be entered on her account- 
book as Mdse. Given under my hand this day of 

, 18—. 

" Stevenson Allen, 
"Attorney and Counsellor-at- Laio." 

The young woman received the paper with the greatest 
reverence and relief. 

" Thankee, Marse Steve," she said, with repeated bows 
and courtesies. " Dis will fix him. I knowed dat if I 
come to you, you'd tell me de law. Jerry talk like he 
know all de law in the wull ! " Armed with her weapon, 
her courage was returning. '' But I'll straighten him out 
wid dis." She tied her letter up in her apron Avitli elabo- 
rate care. Suddenly her face grew grave again. 

" 'Spose Jerry say he'll trick me cuz I come to you ? " 

" Trick you ! " began Steve, in a tone of contempt. 

" Not he himself ; but dat he'll git Doct' Moses to do 
it ?" Her face had grown quite pale. 

" If he says he'll trick you, tell him I'll lick him. Yon 
come to me." 

" Yes, suli." She was evidently much relieved, but 
not wholly so. "I cert'ny is feared o' him," she said, 
plaintively. " He done tricked Jane — Sherrod's wife — and 
a whole lot o' urrs," she said. Steve knew from her face 
that the matter was too serious to be laughed at. 


"You tell Jerry that if lie dares to try it, or even 
threatens you with it, I'll lick the life out of him and dis- 
charge him. And as for Moses " His face darkened. 

'' I don't want you to do that," she said, quickly. 

" Well, you tell him so, anyhow. And if I get hold of 
Moses, he won't trouble you." 

" Yas, suh, I'll tell him ef he try to trick me. 'Cus I 
cert'ny is feared o' dat man." She was going out, when 
Steve called her back. 

" Ah ! Martha ? How are they all at Major Welch's ? " 

"Dee's all right well, thankee, suh," said Martha. 
"Sept Miss Euth — she ain been so mighty well lately." 
Steve's face brightened. 

"Ah ! What is the matter with her ?" His voice was 
divided between solicitude and feigned indifference. 

" I don' know, indeed, suh. She's jes sort o' puny — 
jes heah lately. She don't eat nuttiu'. Dee talk 'bout 
sen'in' her 'way." 

" Indeed ! " Steve was conscious of a sudden sinking 
of the heart. 

"I think she ride 'bout too much in de hot sun," ex- 
plained Martha, with the air of an authority. 

" I have no doubt of it," said Steve. 

" She come home tother evenin' right down sick, and 
had to go to bed," continued Martha. 

" Ah ! when was that : Why don't they send for a 
doctor ? — Dr. Still ?" asked Steve, guilefully. 

"Go 'way, Marse Steve, you know dee ain gwine let dat 
man practus on Miss Euth. Dat's what de matter wid her 
now. He come dyah all de time teckin' her out ridin' " 

" Why, he's away from the County," declared Steve, 
who appeared to have a surprising knowledge of the young 
Doctor's movement. 

" Yas, suh ; but I talkin' 'bout b'fo' ho went way. He 
was wid her dat evenin'. Least, he went way wid her, but he 
didn't come back wid her." Her tone was so significant 
that again the light came into Captain Allen's eyes. 


*' And he hasn't been back since ? " 

" Nor, suh, an' he ain't comin' back nurr." 

" And yon don't know where Miss Welch is going, or 
when ? " 

" Nor, suh, she ain' goin' at all. I heah her say she 
wa'n't gwine ; but she cert'uy look mighty thin, heah 
lately." The conversation had ended. Steve was in a 
reverie, and Martha moved toward the door. 

" "Well, good-by, Marse Steve. I cert'ny is obliged to 
you, an' I gwine send you some eggs soon as my hens be- 
gins to lay again." 

But CajDtain Allen told her she did not owe him any- 

" Come again, Martha, whenever you want to know 
about anything — anything at all." 

When Martha went out she heard him singing. 

The story of Still's offer of a compromise to Jacquelin 
got abroad, and, notwithstanding the wise doctrine of the 
law that an offer of compromise shall not be taken as evi- 
dence in any case, this particular offer was so taken. Still 
found himself roundly abused by his counsel for being 
such a fool as to propose it. All sorts of rumors began to 
fly about. It was said that Mr. Bagby had declined to 
act as his counsel. To meet these reports it was neces- 
sary to do something, and Still's counsel held a consulta- 
tion. It was decided that he should give an entertainment. 

It would show his indifference to the claims of the Grays 
to his plantation, and would prove his position in tlie 
County. Leech thought that this would be a good thing 
to do ; it would anger the Grays, if it did nothing else. lie 
could invite Judge Bail up to it. 

" Make it a fine one when you do have it," said the coun- 
sellor. " I've found champagne make its way to a man's 
heart when you couldn't get at it through his pocket." 

Dr. Still also was eager to have such an entertainment. 
He, too, appreciated the fineness of the stroke that, on the 


eve of battle, would show their contempt for the other 
side. Besides which, the young physician had another 
motive. Soon after his removal from the County to the 
city Dr. Still had become an admirer of Governor Kraf- 
ton's daughter. She was the Governor's only child, and 
even the Governor's bitterest enemies admitted that he was 
a devoted father ; and in the press that was opposed to 
him, often side by side with the bitterest attacks ci the 
Governor, was some admiring mention of his handsome 
and accomplished daughter. He would have given her the 
moon, someone said to General Legale. " Yes, even if he 
had to steal it to do so," said the General. Miss Krafton 
had had the best education that the country could afford. 
This she had finished off with a year or two of travel 
abroad. She had just returned home. She idolized her 
father, and perhaps the Governor had not been sorry to 
have her out of the country where half the press was daily 
filled with the most direct and vehement accusations against 
him. The Governor's apologists declared that his most 
questionable acts were from the desire to build up a fortune 
for his daughter. It was for her that he had bought the 
old Haskelton place, one of the handsomest in the city, and, 
pulling down the fine old colonial mansion, had erected on 
its site one of the costliest and most bewildering structures 
in the State. 

It is often the case that the very magnitude of the efforts 
made to accomplish a design frustrates it ; and Governor 
Krafton, with all his eagerness to be very rich, and his ab- 
solute indifference as to the means employed, was always 
involved pecuniarily, while the men with whom he worked 
appeared to be immensely successful. Until he fell out 
with Leech and Still, he had gone in with them in their 
railroad and land schemes ; but while everything that they 
touched appeared to turn to gold (at least, it was so witli 
Still; for there were rumors resj)ecting Leech), the Gov- 
ernor was always hard pushed to meet his expenditures. 

Still's explanation to his son was that he let others climb 


the trees and do the shaking, and he stayed on the ground - 
and gathered the apples. " Krafton and Leech has both 
made more money than I have/' he said, shrewdly ; " but 

they have to pay it out to keep their offices, while I " 

He completed the sentence by a significant buttoning of 
his pocket. " They think that because they get a bigger 
sheer generally than I do, they do better. But — it ain't 
the water that falls on the land that makes the crojas ; 
it's what sinks in. This thing's got to stoj) some time, my 
son — ground gets worked out — and when the crops are 
gethered I know who mine's for." He gazed at his sou, 
with aingled shrewdness and affection. The young Doctor 
also looked jjleased. His father's sharj)ness at times made 
up to him for his ignorance and want of education. Dr. 
Still was not lacking in smartness himself, and had been 
quick enough to see which way Miss Krafton's tastes lay. 
He had discovered that she was both proud and ambitious 
— ISTot politically. She said she detested politics ; that her 
father never allowed politics to be talked before her ; and 
when he gave a " political dinner," she did not even come 
downstairs. She was ambitious socially. Dr. Still prompt- 
ly began to play on this chord. He had prevailed on his 
father to set him up a banc" some establishment in the 
city, and he became deeply literary. He began to talk of 
his family — the Stills had originally been Steels, he said, 
and were the same family to which Sir Eichard Steel be- 
longed — and to speak of his " old place " and his " old 
pictures." He described them with so much eloquence 
that Miss Krafton said she wished she could see them. 
This gave Dr. Still an idea, and he forthwith began to plan 
an entertainment. As it happened, it was at the very time 
that Leech had suggested the same thing to Hiram Still ; 
and as his son and Leech rarely agreed about anything 
these days. Still was impressed, and the entertainment was 
determined on. It was to be the '^ finest party " that had 
ever been given at Red Rock. On this all were united. 
Iilveu Hiram yielded to the general pressure, and admitted 


that if you were " going to send for a man's turn of corn it 

was no good to send a boy to mill after it." 

He entrusted the arrangements to the young Doctor, 
"who laid himself out on them. A iiorist and a band were 
to be brought up from the city, and the decorations and sup- 
per were to surpass everything that had ever been seen. 
A large company was invited, including many guests from 
the city, for whom a special train was furnished, and Still, 
*' to show his good feeling," extended the invitation to 
many of his neighbors. Major and Mrs. Welch and Ruth 
were invited. Still remembered that Major Welch had 
been to one entertainment in that house, and he wished to 
show him that he could excel even the Grays. Dr. Still 
was at first determined that Miss Welch should not come ; 
but it was suggested that it would be a greater triumph to 
invite her, and more mature reflection decided him that 
this was so. He would show her Miss Krafton, and this 
would be a greater victory than to omit her from the list. 
He could not but believe that she would be jealous. 

On the evening of the entertainment Major Welch and 
Mrs. Welch attended. But Miss Ruth did not accompany 
them. She was not very well, Mrs. Welch said in re- 
ply to Virgy, who, under Dr. Still's wing, was "receiv- 
ing " in a stiff, white satin dress, and looking unfeignedly 
scared as she held her great bou(3[uet, like an explosive that 
might " go off " at any time. Miss Virgy's face, however, 
on seeing Mrs. Welch's familiar countenance, lit up, and 
she greeted her with real pleasure, and expressed regret 
that Ruth had not come, with a sincerity that made Mrs. 
Welch warm toward her. Mrs. Welch liked her better 
than she did Miss Krafton, whom she had met casually and 
thought a handsome and intelligent, but rather conceited 

It was a curious company that Major and Mrs. Welch 
found assembled. The strangers from the city included 
the judge, Avho was a dark-looking man with a strong face, 
a heavy mouth, and a lowering gray eye j a number of 


people of varions conditions, whom Mrs. Welch recognized 
as men whose names she had heard as connected with 
Leech ; and a number of others whom she had never heard 
of. But there was not a soul whom she had ever met before 
socially. Not a member of the St. Ann congregation was 
present. Both the Stills were in an ill-hninor, and Virgy, 
though she was kind and cordial, looked wretchedly un- 
happy. Mrs. Welch was glad that, for once, she had not 
permitted her princii^les to override her instincts, and had 
left Ruth at home. As she glanced about her, her gaze 
rested on her host. Hiram Still was talking to one of his 
guests, a small, stumpy, red-headed man with a twinkling 
eye and a bristly red mustache, whom Mrs. Welch recog- 
nized as an office-holder who had come down from one of 
the Northern States. 

Still was talking in a high, complaining voice. 

" Yes," he said, evidently in answer to a speech by his 
guest, " it is a fine party — the finest ever given in this 
County. It ought to be ; I've spent enough money on it to 
buy a plantation, and to show my friendliness I invited 
my neighbors. Some of 'em I didn't have no call to invite, 
— and yet just look around you. I've got a lot of folks 
from the city I don't know, and some from the County 
I know too well ; but not one of my old neighbors has 
come — not one gentleman has put his foot here this 

His guest glanced round the hall, and ended with a 
quizzical look up in Still's face. " Of course, what did 
you expect ? Do you supjiose. Still, if I were a gentleman 
I'd have come to your party ? I'd have seen you d — d 
first. Let's go and have some more champagne." 

It was the first time the fact had struck Mrs. Welch. It 
was true — there was not a gentleman there except her hus- 

When Mrs. Welch left, shortly afterward. Still and his 
guest had evidently got more champagne. Still was vowing 
that it was the finest party ever given in Red Rock, even if 

454 KED liOCK 

tliere wasn't a gentleman present ; and his guest was laugh- 
ing and egging him on. As Major and Mrs. Welch wait- 
ed for their carriage. Leech passed with Miss Krafton 
on his arm. Mrs. AVelch drove home in silence. There 
were things she did not wholly understand. 



When the Court met, at which the trial of Jacquelin's 
suit against Hiram Still was set, all other matters, even 
polities, were driven from mind. 

It will not be needful to go in detail into the trial of the 
case. The examination of the plaintiffs' witnesses occupied 
two days. In the contest the defendant, to use the phrase- 
ology of another arena, was acknowledged to have " drawn 
first blood." On the morning of the trial the two sides, 
with their counsel, witnesses, and friends, thronged the 
court-house. The counsel, an imposing array, were ranged 
along the bar, fronting the bench and the jury-box which 
was off to one side, and in which sat seven solemn-looking 
negroes and five scarcely less solemn white men. Major 
Welch sat beside Mr. Bagb}', and during a part of the time 
Mrs. Welch and Ruth had chairs behind them. By the 
time they were all settled it was announced that the Judge 
was coming. 

It had been the practice in the County, when the Judge 
entered, for the Bar to rise and remain standing until he 
had mounted the bench, bowed to them, and taken his seat, 
when they bowed and resumed their places. It was a cus- 
tom brought from the Sujireme Court, before which Mr. 
Bagby, General Legale, and others of that bar had prac- 
tised in old times. 

Now, when the Judge entered he was announced by 
Sherwood, the Sheriff, and came in preceded by Leech and 
McRaffle. And not a man rose. The Judge walked up 



the steps to his arm-chair, faced the crowd, and for a sec- 
ond stood still, as if waiting. Not a lawyer stirred, and 
the Judge took his seat. A half scowl was on his brow, 
but he banished it and ordered Court to be opened. The 
case was called, the parties announced themselves ready, 
the jury was impanelled, and the trial was begun. Gen- 
eral Legale was to open the case. It was the custom for 
a chair to be placed inside the bar, just at the feet of the 
jurors. This chair was usually occupied by one of the 
older members of the bar. And as the General had been 
growing a little deaf, he had been taking it of late. He 
had prepared himself with great care, and was dressed with 
the utmost scrupulousness — a black frock coat, white 
trousers, a high stock, and immaculate linen — and when 
the case was called he stood up. He presented a striking 
figure. The gravity of the occasion spoke in every line of 
his weather-beaten, high-bred face. To his mind it was 
not a mere question of title to property he was to argue ; 
it was the question between the old and the new — it was a 
civilization that was on trial. He took the papers in his 
hand, glanced with some curiosity along the lines of the 
jury, and faced the judge. 

" If the Court please " he began, in a calm, well- 
modulated voice that brought an instant hush over the 
whole court-room. 

His words appeared to wake the judge from a lethargy. 
He, however, took no notice whatever of the General, but 
addressed the sheriff. 

'^Put that man behind the bar." 

The Sheriff was mystified, and looked first around him 
and then at the judge, in a puzzled way, to see whom he 
referred to. 


" Make that man get behind the bar." He simply glanced 
at the General. This time the negro took in what he 
meant, and he approached the General doubtfully. The 
General had not caught all the words, but he had heard a 


part of it, and he also looked around. But seeing no one to 
be removed, and not understanding the cause of the order, 

he was just beginning again : " If the Court please " 

when the negro came up to him. The General stopped 
and looked at him inquiringly. 

" De Cote say you is to git behine de bar," said the Sher- 
iff. The General leaned forward, his hollowed hand raised 
to his ear. 

" De Cote say you is to git behine de bar." 

The General turned sharply to the bench and shot one 
piercing look at the Judge ; then, seeming to recollect him- 
self, wheeled about, walked across to Steve and laid the pa- 
pers of the suit on the bar before him, took up his hat, 
turned his back squarely on the Court, and faced the Bar : 

" Good-morning, gentlemen." He made them a low bow, 
clapped his hat on his head, and marched out of the court- 

It made a sensation. Steve Allen rose and asked the 
Court to postpone the case until after dinner, the hour for 
which was approaching. General Legale, he said, was the 
leading counsel on their side. 

'^ Proceed with the case," said the judge. 

It was conceded that the action of General Legale was a 
loss to the plaintiffs' side, but every one on that side sus- 
tained him. They did not see how a gentleman could 
have done otherwise. 

The case proceeded without him. 

It was attempted to show that Mr. Gray could not have 
owed all the money Still claimed, and that, if he did owe 
it, before Still brought suit he must have received from 
Eed Eock crops enough to reduce the amount largely, if 
not to discharge it. 

The investigation was fought at every point by Still's 
counsel, and the Judge almost uniformly ruled in favor of 
their objections, so that Steve Allen had hard work to 
maintain his composure. His eyes flashed and a cloud 
lowered on his brow as he noted exception after exception. 


At length the Court began to head him off from even tliis 
protection, by ruling, whenever Captain Allen rose, that 
he was out of order. When Court adjourned the second 
day it was felt that except for the suspicious fact that Still 
had not endorsed any credit on the bonds, no fraud had 
been shown in his title to them. Witnesses who had been 
put on the stand to show facts tending to prove that he 
could not have had any such amount of money had been 
ruled out. It was conceded that under the Court's rul- 
ing no sufficient ground had been established to upset 
Still's title. The defendant's counsel were jubilant, and 
that night debated whether they should put any witnesses 
on the stand at all. Leech was against it. The Judge 
was with them, he maintained. Mr. Bagby was acquies- 
cent, but Major Welch insisted that, at least, he should 
go on the stand to state his connection with the case. 
He did not intend that it should appear of record that his 
name had been connected with a charge of fraud, and 
that, when he had had the opportunity to go on the stand 
and deny it, he had failed to do so. Mr. Bagby's eyes lit 
up with a gleam of satisfaction as he listened to him, partly 
because of pride in his client, and partly, perhaps, because 
of the discomfiture of Leech and his client. The old law- 
yer was content either way, for he did not see how he could 
possibly be hurt, whatever might happen. So, next morn- 
ing, the defence began to take evidence, and after they 
began to introduce witnesses it was necessary to go fully 
into the case. It was, however, plain sailing : wind and 
tide, in shape of the sympathy of the Court, were with 
them, and as often as Captain Allen interposed objections 
they were ruled out. Witnesses were put up to show that 
Still had always been a keen business man, and had at va- 
rious times lent money to his neighbors, including Mr. 
Gray. Mr. Gray's confidence in him was proved, and it 
was shown that he had relied on him so far as to send him 
South as his agent. Still was ostentatiously offered by 
Leech as a witness to prove everything, but was objected 


to on the ground that the otlier party to the transaction was 
dead, and was necessarily held incompetent. All the merit, 
however, of what he might prove was secured. An undis- 
puted bond of Mr. Gray's was put in proof. It was dated 
at the outbreak of the war, and was the bond given for 
money to help equip the Red Rock Company. This bond 
was taken from the bundle of papers in the old suit 
which Still had brought, and whilst it was being examined 
the other papers in the file were left spread out on the 
bar before Leech, with the big bond lying by itself until 
it should be offered in evidence. In this way a presump- 
tion was raised as to StilFs means and ability to lend 
money. Just then it became necessary to show the time 
when Still went South, in order to connect the large bond 
with that visit. An attempt was made to do this, but the 
witnesses put on the stand to prove it got confused on 
cross-examination and differed among themselves by sev- 
eral years. It was now night, and Leech was anxious to 
close the case. Things had been going so smoothly that 
he was impatient. He glanced around the court-room. 

" Is there no one here who was present when you went 
or came back ?" he asked Still, with a frown. Still looked 
about him. 

" Yes, there's a nigger. He was there both when I 
went away and when I came back. He used to work 
about the house." He pointed to Doan, who stood be- 
hind the bar in the throng of spectators. " But I don't 
want to put him on," he whispered. "I don't like him." 

" Oh ! nonsense ! It's only a single fact, and if we can 
prove it by one witness, it's as good as by a hundred." 
He turned and spoke to Doan from his seat. 

''Come around and be sworn." Doan came to the 
clerk's desk and was sworn. He was told by Leech that 
he need not sit down, as there was only one question to be 
asked. So he stood just in front of the bar, where the 
papers were spread on it, looking self-conscious and sheep- 
ish, but very self-important. Leech put his question. 


" Do you know when Mr. Still was sent South by Mr. 
Gray ? " 

" Yes, suh. Cose I does. I was right dyah. See him 
de night he come back." 

" Well, tell those gentlemen when it was/' said Leech. 
A shade of impatience crossed his face as Doan looked 
puzzled. ''What year it was?" He leaned over and 
touched the big bond lying on the bar before him, prepara- 
tory to putting it in evidence. The act seemed to arouse 
the negro's intellect. 

*' Well, I don' know notliin' 'bout what year 'twuz," 
he said, '' but I knows ivheii 'twuz." 

" Well, wlien was it ? And how do you know when it 
was ? " Leech asked, sharply. 

"'Twuz when de big picture o' de glios' in de gret hall 
fall down the lass' time, jesb'fo' dewar. Mr. Still had Jes 
come back from de Souf de day befo', an' him and marster 
wuz in the gret hall togerr talkin' 'bout things, and Mr. 
Still had jes ontie he picket-book an' gin marster back de 
papers, when de win' blow 'em on de flo' an' de picture 
come down out de frame 'quebang, most 'pon top my 

" Stop him ! For God's sake ! stop him," muttered 
Still, clutching at Leech's arm. The lawyer did not 
catch his words, and turned to him. Still was deadly 
pale. " Stop him ! " he murmured. A stillness had 
fallen on the court-room, and the crowd was listening. 
Leech saw that something had happened. 

"Hold on. Stop! How do you know this?" His 
tone was suddenly combative. 

"Hi ! I wuz right dyah onder it, and it leetle mo' fall 
'pon top my haid." Doan gave a nod of satisfaction as he 
recalled his escape. " Yes, suh, I thought he had got me 
dat time sho''!" he chuckled, with a comical glance at the 
negroes before him, who roused up at the reminiscence 
and laughed at his whimsical look. " 'Twuz in de spring, 
and I wuz pain tin' de hearth wid red paint, and marster 


an' cle overseer was talkin* togerr at de secretary by de 
winder 'bout de new plantation down Souf ; an' I wuz doin' 
mo' lis'nin 'n paintin', cnz when I lieali Mr. Still say he 
hadn' buyed all de Ian' an' niggers marster 'spected him 
to buy and had done bring he barn back, I wuz wonderin' 
what that wuz an' ef dee'd sen' any o' our blackfolks down 
Souf ; and thunderstorm come up right sudden, an' b'fo' dee 
pull de winder down, blowed dern papers, what Mr. Still 
bring back an' teck out he pocket an' gi' to marster, oif 
de secretary down on de flo', and slam de do' so hard de 
old Ingin-killer fall right out de frame nios' 'pon top my 
haid. Yas, suh, I wuz dyah slio' !" He was telling the 
incident of the picture and not of the jDapers, and the 
crowd was deeply interested. Even the Judge was 
amused. Still, with white face, v/as clutching Leech's 
arm, making him signals to stop the witness ; and Leech, 
not yet wholly comprehending, was waiting for a pause to 
do so, without its being too marked. But Doan was too 
well launched to stop. He flowed on easily : "I holp Mr. 
Still to put de picture back in the frame an' nail 't up after 
marster had done put de paper what he call he ' barn,' in 
de hole behine it, an' I tell you I didn't like it much 
nohow. An' Mr. Still didn' like it much nurr." 

" Stop him ! " whispered Still, agonizingly. 

" Here, this is all nonsense," broke in Leech, angrily. 
"You don't know what Mr. Still thought. You know 
that he came back from the South some year tliat there 
was a thunderstorm, and a picture was blown out of a 
frame or fell down. And that's all you know. You don't 
know what Mr. Still thought or anything else." But 
Doan was by this time at his ease, enjoying the taste of 

" Yas, suh, I does, cuz I hear him say so. I holp him 
nail de picture back after marster had done put dem very 
papers Mr. Still gi' him back in de hole behine it. An' I 
hear Mr. Still tell marster 't ef it wuz him he'd be slceered, 
cuz dee say 'twuz bad luck to anybody in de house ef de 


picture fall ; and marster say he wa'n't skeered, dat ef an}-- 
tliiiig happen to him he could trust Mr. Still, an' he'd jKit 
de papers in de hole behiue de picture, so ef anyone ever 
fine 'em dee'd see what a faithful man he had ; he had 
trus' him wid he barn for thousan's o' dollars, an' he 
brung it back, an' he gwine nail de picture up now so 
'twon' come down no mo'." 

'' Oh ! Your master said he felt he could trust Mr. 
Still ? " said Leech, brightening, catching this crumb of 

" Yas, suh." 

" And what did Mr. Still say ?" 

''He say he could too." The crowd laughed. 

"And he nailed the picture up securely ?" 

"Yas, suh. I helped him. Marster sont me to teck 
Marse Rupert out, cuz he wuz dabblin' he little byah 
foots in de paint on de hearth, trackin' up de flo', an' had 
done step'pon one o' de barns wliar blow' down, an' mark 
it up ; an' he tell me when I come back to bring hammer 
an' nails to nail de picture up, an' so I done." 

Still was again squeezing his counsel's arm painfully, 
whispering him to stop the witness. But Leech had to ask 
one more question. 

" You brought the nails and nailed it up ? " 

"Yes, suh, me an' Mr. Still. An' Marse Rui^ert he 
come back, and Mr. Jack dyah wid him, an' say he gwine 
help too. He wuz always pesterin' roun', dem days." 
This in pleasant reminiscence to the crowd. 

"You can stand aside," said Leech, contemptuously. 
He gave a sigh of relief, and Doan was turning slowly to 


" Hold on." Steve's deep voice broke in. Jacquelin was 
whispering to him eagerly. A new light had come into 
his eyes, and he was scanning Still's white face, on Vhicli 
the beads of sweat had stood during the whole examina- 
tion. Steve, still listening to Jacquelin's rapid speech, 
rose slowly to get the bond lying on the bur, Before be 


conld reach it however, McRaffle, one of the counsel as- 
sociated with Leech, partly resenting the neglect of him- 
self and wishing to earn his fee, leant forward. He would, 
at least, ask one question. 

" You nailed it up securely, and that was the last time 
it fell." He spoke rather in affirmation than question. 

" Nor, suli ; it done fall down two or three times since 
den. Hit fall de day marster wuz kilt, an' hit fall de even- 
in' Mr. Still dyah got de papers out de hole agin. Dat's 
de evenin' Mr. Leech dyah 'rest Marse Jack. Mr. Leech 
know 'bout dat." 

Suddenly a voice rang through the court-room. 

" It's a lie ! It's all a d— d lie ! " It was Hiram Still, 
and he had sprung to his feet in uncontrollable agitation, 
his face livid. Every eye was turned on him, and Leech 
caught liim and pulled him down forcibly into his seat, 
rising in his place and addressing the Court. 

" If your honor please," he said, " all of this is irrel- 
evant. I have no idea what it is all about ; but it has no 
bearing whatever on this case : a lot of stuff about a pict- 
ure falling down. I shall ask you to exclude it all from 
the jury " 

" But I will show whether or not it is relevant," asserted 
Steve. He had picked up the bond from the bar and held 
it firmly. His voice had a new ring in it. 

Leech turned on him angrily, but caught his eye and 
quieted down. He addressed the Court again. 

" I will show how impossible it is for it to be accepted. 
Can you read or write ? " he demanded of Doan, who stood 
much puzzled by what was going on. 

" Nor, suh." 

''And you cannot tell one paper from another, can 
you ? " 

" Nor, suh. But ef de paper Mr. Still got out from be- 
hine de picture dat evenin' I see him git up in de hole 
after you brung Marse Jack away, is de one I see him gi' 
marster an' see him put in d3'ab, hit's got Marse Rupert's 


foot-track ^pon it — least his toe-tracks — whar lie'd been 
dabblin^ in de fresh paint on de hearth ; cuz dat's de reason 
marster meek me cyar him out, cuz he step 'pon de barn 
whar blown down on de hall-flo' wid red paint, an' track 
up de flo' runnin' after it." (Here Steve, with a bow, 
handed the bond across to Major Welch.) " I see marstci 
when he put de paper in de bundle an' Mr. Still put it up 
in de hole behine de picture, an' I see Mr. Still when he 
git up in de hole an' teck it out de evenin' de picture fall 
down after mistis an' all de white folks come 'way to de 
cote-house after Marse Jack. Ef it's de same barn hit's 
got he toe-marks on hit in red paint, cuz I can show you 
de tracks on de hall flo' now. Hit's dim, but hit's dyah on 
de flo' still. Ef you go dyah wid me I can show 't to you." 

At this moment Major AVelch, who had been holding the 
bond in his hand and had studied it carefully, leaned for- 
ward and held it out to the negro. 

Still, with a gasp, made a grab for Leech, and Leech 
reached for the paper; but Major Welch put him aside 
without even looking at him. 

" Did you ever see that paper before ? " he asked Doan. 
Doan's face lit up, and he gave an ejaculation of surprise 
and pleasure. 

" Yas, suh, dat's de very paper I'se talkin' 'bout." He 
took it and held it triumphantly, turning it so it could be 
seen. " Dyah's Marse Rupert's little toe-marks 'pou hit 
now, jes' like I tell you." And as the paper was viewed, 
there, without doubt, were the prints — incontestably the 
marks of five little toes, as the exclamation of the specta- 
tors certified. Doan was delighted at his justification. 
" I knowed he teck it out, cuz I see him when he cut de 
string up dyah an' put it in he pocket, an' I see de string 
when I put it back," he said, confidentially, to the crowd. 
" I see him, an' Unc' Tarquin sec him too, cuz he had jes 
come over to see 'bout Marse Jack ; an he ax me afterwards 
Avhat Mr. Still wuz doin' in de hole up dyah rummagin' 




" Tliat's so ! " exclaimed a deep voice back in the crowd. 
''I saw liim in the hole, and I saw him take some papers 
ont and put them in his pocket." It was old Tarquin, 
standing still and solemn in the front row of the negroes 
behind the bar. 

The Judge roared for silence, and Leech rose and re- 
newed his motion. He denounced the whole story as non- 
sensical and absurd. 

Steve Allen started to contest the motion ; but the Judge 
sustained it, and ruled out Doan's testimony, to which Steve 
excepted. Then Leech calmly offered the bond in evi- 
dence, and announced that they were through and wanted 
no argument. 

Steve Allen offered to put Doan on the stand as his wit- 
ness, but Leech objected ; the plaintiffs had closed their 
case, he said. And so the Court ruled. Steve Allen 
claimed the right to put the witness on the stand, assert- 
ing that it was in rebuttal. But the Court was firm. The 
Judge declined " to hear ghost stories." Steve insisted, 
and the Court ordered him to take his seat. He Avas 
"out of order," The case was closed, and he wanted to 
hear no argument. In such a case the verdict of a jury 
was not obligatory on the Court, it was only to instruct 
the mind of the chancellor. He had heard all that the 
jury had heard, and his mind was clear. He would in- 
struct them to bring in a verdict that no fraud had been 
shown, and the defendants would prepare a decree ac- 

On this Steve suddenly flamed out. He would like to 
know, he said, when he had been in order in that court. 
It was an outrage on decency ; the rulings of the Court 
were a cover for fraud. 

He was certainly out of order now. The Judge was 
angry, but he was not afraid. 

" Take your seat, sir," he shouted. " I will commit yon 
for contempt." The anger of the Judge cooled Steve's. 

" If you do, it will certainly be for contempt" he said, 


recovering his composure. He was looking tlie Judge 
squarely in the eyes. 

" I will put you in jail, sir ! " 

*' It has no terrors for me. It is more honorable than 
your court.'' 

" I will disbar you ! " roared the Judge. 

*' You have substantially done it in this case/' said 

The Judge was foaming. He turned to the clerk and 
commanded him to enter an order immediately striking 
Steve's name from the roll of attorneys practising in thiit 
court, and ordered the Sheriff to take him into custody. 
The excitement was intense. Instinctively a number of 
men, Andy Stamper among them, moved up close to Steve 
and stood about him. The colored Sherilf, who had 
started, paused and looked at the Judge inquiringly. Tiie 
Judge was just beginning to speak again to the Sheriff, but 
his attention was arrested. 

At this moment Jacquelin rose. His calm manner and 
assured voice quieted the hubbub ; and the Judge looked at 
him and waited. As his counsel was disbarred, Jacquelin 
said, he should ask the Court to allow him to represent 
himself at this juncture, and also his brother, who was still 
a minor. He calmly stated the series of events that had 
prevented their knowing before-the facts that had just then 
been disclosed, and which made everything clear; and lie 
asked leave to amend their bill, or to file a new one, on the 
ground of after-discovered evidence. With the new light 
thrown on the case, he traced Still's action step by step, 
and suddenly wound up with a charge that Still had ar- 
rested his brother to get him out of the way and destroy 
the danger of his testimony. A roar of apjilause burst 
from the white men present, in whom a ray of ho^^e began 
to shine once more. Jacquelin sat down. 

Of all the people in the court-room the Judge was the 
most calm. He was as motionless as a siihinx. As Jacque- 
lin took his seat there was a brief pause of deathly still- 


ness. The Judge looked at Leech and waited. The latter 
caught tlie signal and his face lit up. He put his hand on 
the bar, and leant forward preparatory to rising to his feet. 
Before he could make another motion Major Welch rose. 
Every eye was turned on him. Old Mr. Bagby gazed up at 
him, his lips slightly parted, his eyes filled with wonder- 
ment. Leech, with his hand resting on the bar and his 
body bent forward, waited. The Judge turned his gaze to 
Major Welch. The silence became almost palpable. Major 
Welch's face was pale, and the lines, as seen in the dim 
light, appeared to have deepened in it. His form was erect. 
"^ If your honor please,'' he began, "I am a defendant 
in this case, and hold as a purchaser under the other de- 
fendant a considerable part of the property sought to be 
recovered by the plaintiffs. I bought it honestly and paid 
for it, believing that it was the land of the man from 
whom I bought, and I still hold it. There have been a 
number of things since that I have not been able to un- 
derstand until now. I have observed closely all that has 
gone on here to-day, and have heard all that has just been 
said. I wish to say that, as far as I am concerned — so far 
as relates to the part of the property formerly belong, 
ing to Mr. Jacquelin Gray and his brother now held by 
me — I am satisfied. It will not be necessary for the 
plaintiffs to take the step that has just been proposed, of 
filing a new bill. From certain facts within my own 
knowledge, and which I did not understand before, but on 
which, what has just taken place has thrown a full light, 
I am quite satisfied. And if the complainants will prepare 
a i^roper deed reconveying the land — my part of the land 
— to them, I will execute it without further delay, and will 
make such restitution as I can. I have lost what I put 
into it, which is a considerable part of all I possessed in 
the world. But " — he paused for a second — " there is one 
thing I have not lost, and I do not propose to lose it. I 
am not willing to hold another man's property which he 
lost by fraud." (For the first time he turned and faced the 


bar. His voice which, if firm, had been grave and low, 
suddenly became strong and full, with a ring in it of 
pride.) "I shall expect them to make a declaration of 
record that every transaction, so far as I at least was con- 
cerned, was free from any taint of suspicion," He sat down, 
amid a deathly silence. The next moment, from all 
through the court-room, there was a cheer that almost 
took the roof off. The Judge scowled and rapped, but it 
was beyond him ; and in spite of his efforts to restore or- 
der, the tumult went on wildly, cheer after cheer, not only 
for the act, but for the man. 

Ruth, who all through the scene had been sitting beside 
her mother, holding her arm tightly, her face as white as 
her handkerchief, in a fit of uncontrollable emotion burst 
into tears and threw herself into her mother's arms ; and 
Mrs. Welch's eyes were glistening and her face was lit 
by a glow which she did not always permit to rest there. 

Old Mr. Bagby had sat half-dazed by his client's action — 
wonder, dissatisfaction, and pride all contending in liis 
countenance for mastery. Before his client was through, 
pride conquered, and as Major Welch took his seat the old 
lawyer leant forward, placed his hand on the back of Major 
Welch's and closed it firmly. ' That was all. 

As Major Welch sat down Jacquelin sprang to his feet. 
His face was almost as white as Major Welch's. 

" If the Court please " he began. But it was in vain 

tliat he strove to speak. Cheers for Major Welch were 
ringing, and the Judge, his face livid with wratli, was rap- 
ping. Jacquelin was waving his hand to quiet the crowd. 
"If the Court please," he repeated, " I wish to make a 

" Sit down," said the Judge, shouting angrily to the 
Sheriff to restore order. Jacquelin sat down, and the 
cheers began to subside. 

Leech and his associates had been struck dumb with 
astonishment. They gazed on Still in blank dismay, and, 
as Jacquelin resumed his seat. Leech leaned over and spoke 


to Still. Still sat motionless, his face ashy, his cheeks 
twitching, his eyes dnll. Jnst at that moment there was 
a crash outside close to the window. A restive horse had 
broken loose. There was a shrill neigh and the sudden 
trample of feet as he dashed away through the darkness, 
Hiram Still sank forward and rolled from his chair in a 
heap on the floor. 

The Court adjourned for the night, and the crowd 
poured from the court-room. 

As Ruth and her mother came out, the darkened green 
was full of groups of men all eagerly discussing the occur- 
rence and its probable effect on the case. Major Welch's 
name was on every lip. 

''Dauged if I believe he's a Yankee, anyway \" said a 
voice in the darkness as Euth and Mrs. Welch passed by — 
a theory which gained this much credit : that several ad- 
mitted that, " He certainly was more like our people than 
like Yankees." One, after reflection, said : 

"Well, maybe there's some of 'em better than them we 
know about." 

The ladies passed on in the darkness. 

Hiram Still was taken over to the tavern, and Dr. Gary 
worked over him for hours; and later in the night the 
report was current that it was only a fit he had had, and 
that he was recovering. 

Meantime Leech and Still's other counsel held a consul- 
tation, and after that Leech was closeted with the Judge in 
his room for an hour ; and when he left, having learned 
that Major Welch had gone home, he mounted his horse 
and rode away in the darkness in the direction of Eed 

The next morning the Judge adjourned his court for the 
terra. The illness of Still, the chief party in the cause, 
was the ground assigned. 

It soon became known that Still was not going to give 
up tlie suit. It was authoritatively announced by Leech. 
What Major Welch chose to do had nothing to do with Still. 


" If Major Welcli was fool euougli," Leech said, '' to 
turn tail at a nigger's lies, which he had been bribed to 
tell, and liiug away a good plantation, it was none of their 
business. But they were going to fight and win their 

The Judge left the County, and Still, having recovered 
sufficiently, was moved to his home. 

The day after tlie scene in the court-room Jacquelin 
Gray, Steve, and the General had a conference with old 
Mr. Bagby, and then together they called on Major Welch. 
They stated that, while they appreciated his action, they 
did not wish him to take such a step as he had proposed 
under the excitement of an impulse, and they would j) re- 
fer to bring the proof and lay it before liini to establish 
the facts they alleged as beyond question. 

*'It was this that I wished to say last night," said 
Jacquelin ; and then added that he was quite ready to 
make the entry of record at once that the Major's holding 
of the lands was entirely innocent. 

Major Welch heard his visitors through, then said he 
preferred not to wait ; he was quite satisfied. 

" It might have been an im^Julse last night, gentlemen, 
but it is not an impulse now. I have reflected very deep- 
ly, you may be sure ; but I am only confirmed in my inten- 
tion, and my act now is that of mature deliberation. I 
only wish to say one thing more : that if I were cajiable of 
holding on to this land, my wife would not permit me to 
do so." 

He did not tell the visitors that, the night before, he had 
been followed home by Leech, who had just come from 
an interview with the Judge, and who urged him, on every 
ground that he could think of, to reconsider his action and 
retract his promise ; assured him of the absolute certainty 
of success, and gave hira finally the assurance of the Judge 
himself, who had promised to dismiss the suit and enter 
the decree. 

Nor did he tell Jacquelin that the interview with Leech 


had come suddenly to an end by his telling Leech of what 
he knew personally, and that he considered him a proper 
counsel for Still, and the Judge a proper judge for him to 
try his case before. 

This he did not mention, and they did not learn it 
until long afterward. 



The developments of the trial decided Jacquelin to 
offer immediately an amended bill, setting up all the facts 
tliat had come out. Steve Allen went South to follow up 
the fresh clew and obtain new evidence, and on his return 
it was rumored that he had been successful. Meantime 
Still had recovered sufficiently to be taken to a watering- 
place — for his health, it was said — and Leech was engaged 
in other parts of the State looking after his prospective 
canvass for the Governorship. Leech's candidacy and 
the final issue of the Red Rock case had become closely 
associated. It was charged that Leech had been engaged 
with Still in the attempt to perpetrate a fraud ; and it was 
intimated that, if the Red Rock case should be won by the 
Grays, it wouhl be followed by the prosecution of Still and 
possibly of Leech. Captain Allen's connection with the 
case, together with the part he had taken in public matters, 
had brought him forward as the leader of the opposition to 
Leecli, not only in the County, but throughout the State. 
Dr. Still was absent, dutifully looking after his father, 
and, rumor said, also looking after his own prospects in 
another field. Whether these reports were all true or not, 
the three men were all absent from the County, and the 
County breathed more freely by reason thereof. It was an 
unquestioned fact that when they were absent, peace re- 

It was, however, but the calm before the storm. 

In the interval that came, Jacquelin once more brought 



his suit. It was based on the disclosure made at the first 
trial, and the bill was this time against Still alone. Major 
Welch, as stated, had insisted on reconveying his part of 
the land to Jacquelin. He said he could not sleep with 
that land in his possession. So Jacquelin and Rupert were 
the owners of it, and Major Welch took it on a lease. 

The suit matured, and once more the term of court ap- 
proached. The people of the County were in better spirits. 
The evidence that Steve had secured in the South was be- 
lieved to fill the broken links. On the decision depended 
everything. It was recognized on both sides that it was 
not now a mere property question, but a fight for suprem- 
acy. The old citizens were making a stand against the 
new powers. There was talk of Rupert's coming home. 
He had been in the West with Captain Thurston, acting 
as a volunteer scont, and had distinguished himself for 
his bravery.. One particular act of gallantry, indeed, had 
attracted much attention. In a fight with the Indians, a 
negro trooper belonging to one of the companies had been 
wounded and during a check had fallen from his horse. 
Rupert had heard his cries, and had gone back under a 
heavy fire and, lifting him on his horse, had brought him oif. 
The first tliat was heard of it in the County was through a 
letter of Captain Thurston's to Miss Welch. When Ruj)ert 
was written to about it, he said he could not let Steve and 
Jack have all tlie honors : " And the fact is," he added, 
" vvlien I heard the negro boy calling, I could not leave 
him to save my life." 

Within a month after the reinstitution of the suit. Cap- 
tain Thurston's company had come back from the West, 
and there was talk of efforts being made to have the old 
prosecution against Rupert dismissed. It was reported 
that he would come home and testify at the trial. Since 
his memory had been refreshed he recollected perfectly 
the incident of stepping on the paper. 

Rumors of what might follow the trial were increasincf 
daily. It was even said that Leech was trying to make up 


with Governor Kraftou, and that negotiations were pend- 
ing between them by which one of them would become 
Governor and the other Senator. 

Steve Allen asserted boldly that it was much more likely 
that one of them would be in the penitentiary, unless the 
other pardoned him. This speech was repeated to Leech, 
who blinked uneasily. He went North that night. 

In view of these facts, the old County was in better spir- 
its than it had enjoyed for some time. 

Dr. Washington Still's attentions to his father, after the 
father's " attack" at the trial of the Eed Rock case, were, 
however, not so filial as they were reported to be. Had 
the truth been known, he was not so attentive to his father's 
interest as he was to that of another member of the Still 
family. While the trial and its strange denouement had 
affected the elder Still to the point of bringing on a slight 
attack of paralysis, it affected Dr. Still also very seriously, 
though in a different way. 

After the entertainment at Red Rock, Dr. Still fancied 
that he saw much improvement in his chances with Miss 
Krafton. He had expected to impress her with Red Rock, 
and she had been impressed. The pictures had particu- 
larly struck her. He had told her of as many of the 
portraits as he could remember, inventing names and his- 
tories for most of them. He had not thought it necessary 
to go into any elaborate exjjlanation, consequently he had 
not mentioned the fact that they were the ancestors of the 
man who was suing for the recovery of the place. Miss 
Krafton had heard of the suit and referred to it casually. 
Ur. Still scouted the idea of his title being questioned. His 
grandfather had lived there, and his father had been born 
on the place. He did not mention the house in which his 
father was born. He only intimated that in some way 
they had been straitened in their circumstances before the 
war, at some period which he made vaguely distant ; and 
he spoke of their later success somewhat as of a recovery 
of their estate. The suit, he asserted, had been instigated 


purely by spite. It was simply one of the customary at- 
tempts to annoy Union men and Northern settlers — it was 
really brought more against Major AVelch than his father. 
Miss Kraf ton had met Major Welch, and had declared that 
she adored him. Dr. Still's eyes blinked complacently. 

Miss Krafton was manifestly interested, and the Doctor 
after this began to have more hopes of his success than he 
had ever had. He allowed himself to fall really in love 
with her. 

His father's connection with the bonds of his former em- 
ployer suddenly threatened to overthrow the whole struct- 
ure that Dr. Still was so carefully building. The story 
of the bonds was told, with all its accessories, in such news- 
papers as were conducted by the old residents ; and although 
Miss Krafton might never have heard of it from them, as 
she had never seen a copy of such a journal in her life, 
the papers that were on her father's side undertook to an- 
swer the story. It was an elaborate answer — a complete 
answer — if true. It ought to have been complete, for Dr. 
AVashington Still inspired it, if he did not write it. The 
trouble was, it was too complete. It Avas not content with 
answering, it attacked ; and it by innuendo attacked Major 
Welch. Miss Krafton might not have believed the story, 
if it had been confined to Mr. Gray and Mr. Still ; but 
when Major Welch had acce2)ted the story, and, as was 
stated, had even reconveyed his property to Mr. Gray, it 
was a different matter. 

Miss Krafton had conceived a high opinion of Major 
Welch. He was so different from all others whom she had 
seen at the entertainment at Red Rock or had met at her 
father's table. She knew of the Welches' high social stand- 
ing. She had met Miss Welch, and had been delighted 
with her also. The partial similarity of their situations 
had drawn her to Ruth, and Ruth's sweetness had charmed 
her. When the story of the Red Rock suit came out. Miss 
Kraf ton's curiosity was aroused. She wrote to Miss Welch 
and asked her about it. 

476 5^ED ROCK 

Dr. Still had now begun to press his suit in earnest. He 
too had schemes which a union with Governor Krafton 
would further. Leech was becoming too constant a visitor 
at the governor's mansion to suit the young physician, and 
the latter was planning to forestall him. 

When Dr. Still called on Miss Krafton next, after she 
had made her inquiry of Miss Welch, as he waited in her 
drawing-room his eye fell on a letter lying open on a table. 
He thought he recognized the handwriting as that of Miss 
Welch ; and as he looked at it to verify this, he caught tlie 
name " Eed Eock." He could not resist the temptation 
to read what she had said, and, picking up the letter, he 
glanced at the first page. It began with a formal regret 
that she could not accept Miss Krafton's invitation to visit 
her, and then continued : 

" As to your request to tell you the true story of Mr. 
Hiram Still's connection with the Eed Eock case, which 

the papers have been so full of, I feel " What it was 

that she felt. Dr. Still did not discover, for at this point the 
page ended, and just then there was a rustle of skirts out- 
side the door. Dr. Still replaced the letter only in time 
to turn and meet Miss Krafton as she entered. He had 
never seen her so handsome ; but there was something in 
her manner to him which he had never felt before. She 
was cold, he thought — almost contemptuous. He wondered 
if she could have seen him through the door reading her 
letter. Partly to sound her as to this, and jiartly to meet 
the statements which he feared Miss Welch had made, he 
turned the conversation to the Welches. He began to 
pi-aise them mildly, at the same time speaking of their im- 
practicability and prejudices, and incidentally hinting that 
Major Welch had sold out to the Grays. To this Miss 
Krafton replied so warmly that the young man began to 
try another tack. Miss Krafton, however, did not unbend. 
She launched out in such eulogy of Major Welch, of Mrrf. 
Welch, and of Miss Welch tliat Dr. Still was quite over- 
whelmed. He mentioned the account that had appeared in 


her father's organ. Miss Krafton declared tliat she did 
not believe a word of it. Major Welch had stated that it 
was wholly untrue. She asserted with spirit, that if she 
were a man, she would rather starve than have a dollar 
that was not gotten honestly ; and if ever she married, it 
would be to a man like Major Welch. Her color had risen 
and her eyes were flashing. 

Dr. Still gazed at her in a half-dazed way, and a curi- 
ous expression came over his face. It was no time for him 
to push matters to an extreme. 

Well, some women are innocent, he thought, as he came 
down the steps. And his eyes had an ugly look in them. 

When he reached home his father was waiting for him. 
The young man attacked him so furiously that he was 
overwhelmed. He began to try to defend himself. He 
had done nothing, he declared feebly ; but whatever he 
had done, had been for his sake. His voice was almost a 

His son broke out in a fury : 

" For my sake ! That's your plea ! And a pretty mess 
you've made of it ! Just as I was about to succeed — to 
make me the talk of the State ! — to make me appear the 
son of a — thief ! You've stood in my way all my life. 
But for you, I might have been anything. I am ashamed 
of you — I've always been ashamed of you. But I did not 
think you'd have been such a — fool ! " He walked up 
and down the room, v/ringing his hands and clutching the 

"Washy — Washy — hear me," pleaded the father, rising 
totteringly from his arm-chair, and with outstretched hands 
trying to follow his son. 

Wash Still made a gesture, half of contempt and half of 
rage, and burst out of the door. 

As his son slammed the door behind him, Hiram Still 
stood for a moment, turned unsteadily to his chair, threw 
up his hands, and, tottering, fell full length on the floor. 

The newspaper of which McRaffle was one of the editors 


stated a day or two later that " our fellow-citizens will be 
glad to learn that the honored Colonel Hiram Still is rap- 
idly recovering from his paralytic stroke, owing to the de- 
voted attentions and skill of his son, the eminent young 
physician. Dr. Washington Still, for whom we are prepared 
to predict a remarkable career." It " further congi-atulated 
all honest men that Colonel Still would be well in time to 
attend the trial of the so-called suit, instituted against him 
by his political enemies, which suit, to the editor's own 
persojial knowledge, was neither more nor less than a mali- 
cious persecution." 

How much Dr. Still j)aid for this notice was known only 
to two men, unless Leech also knew ; for Leech and Mc- 
Raffle were becoming very intimate. 

It had been supposed that Mr. Hiram Still's illness would 
put off the trial of the lied Rock case ; but Mr. Leech, 
who had just returned from the North, declared publicly 
that the trial would come off as already scheduled, at the 
next term. He further intimated that those who were set- 
ting traps for him would learn that he could set a few 
traps himself. This declaration set at rest the fears that 
had been entertained that the Red Rock case would be 

Leech made good his word, and when it was least antici- 
pated sprang the trap he had prejxired. It was a complete 
surprise and almost a complete success ; and when Leech 
counted up his game, he had, with a single exception, 
bagged every man in the County from whom he had re- 
ceived an affront, or against whom he cherished a grudge. 

One Sunday morning, about daylight, as Jerry was re- 
turning to Brutusville from some nocturnal excursion, 
when only a mile or two from the village, he was startled 
to come on a body of cavalry, on the march. They 
were headed toward Brutusville, and with them were 
Colonel Leech and Captain McRaffle. A shrewd guess 
satisfied Jerry that it must mean some mischief to Captain 
Allen. Cariosity and interest prompted him to fall in 


witli them ; but the men he addressed knew nothing, 
and were grumbling at having to take a long night-ride. 
Jerry pressed on to the head of the column, Avhere he 
saw Leech. He touched his hat, and passed on as if he 
were in a great hurry. Leech, however, called him, and 
began to question him, bnt soon discovered that he was 
drunk — too drunk to be wholly intelligent, but, fortu- 
nately, sober enough to give a good deal of valuable infor- 
mation. Leech gathered from him that no one had the 
slightest idea that troops were coming to Brutnsville, un- 
less Captain Allen had. The Captain, Jerry said, had left 
Brutnsville the evening before, and had gone to a friend's 
in the upper end of the County to spend Sunday. Jerry 
knew this, because the Captain had told him to meet him 
there with his horse in time for church ; but Jerry was not 
going. He "had had enough of that man," he said. He 
was not going to work for him any more. The Cajjtain 
had threatened to beat him. Here Jerry, at the memory 
of his wrongs, fell into a consuming rage, and cursed Cap- 
tain Allen so heartily that he almost proj^itiated Leech. 
It was a matter of regret to Leech that Steve Allen was 
not in Brutnsville, and so could not be arrested at once. 
This, however, could be remedied if a part of the company 
were detailed to catch him before he learned of their arri- 
val. Leech would himself go with the men who were to 
undertake this. He wished to be present, or almost so, 
when Captain Allen was arrested. He would have taken 
Jerry with him, but Jerry was suddenly so drunk that he 
could hardly stand. So, having directed that the negro 
should not be allowed to go until after all the contem- 
plated arrests had been made. Colonel Leech, with a pla- 
toon, took a road that led to the place where, according to 
Jerry, he should find Caj^tain Allen preparing to attend 

It was just daybreak when the remainder of the company 
reached the outskirts of the county seat, and, in accordance 
with the instructions that had been received, began to post 


pickets to surround the village. This was done under the 
immediate supervision of Captain McEaflQe. Jerry re- 
mained with one of the picliets. The morning air appeared 
to have revived him astonishingly, and in a little while he 
had ingratiated himself with the picket by telling a num- 
ber of funny stories of Leech, who did not appear to be at 
all popular with the men. He presently insinuated that 
he knew where the best whiskey in town was to be secured, 
and offered to go and get some for the picket before the 
officers took possession. He could slip in and come right 
out again without anyone knowing it. On this, and with 
a threat of what would be done to him if he failed to return, 
he was allowed by the picket to go in. He started off like 
a deer. It was surprising how straight he could go when 
he moved rapidly ! 

As soon as he reached the village he struck straight for 
the court-green. Jacquelin had spent the night at the 
court-house with Steve, and was about to start for home in 
tlie first light of the morning, and, just as Jerry famg him- 
self over the fence, Jacquelin came down from the rooms 
tliat he and Steve occupied. Jerry rushed up to him and 
began to tell him the story of Leech's return with the sol- 
diers. He had come to arrest the Captain, Jerry declared. 

At first Jacquelin thought that Jerry was merely drunk ; 
but his anxiety on Captain Allen's account, and the clever- 
ness of his ruse by which he had outwitted Leech, satisfied 
him ; and Jerry's account of Leech's eagerness (for he did 
not stick at telling the most egregious lies as to what 
Leech had told him) aroused. Jacquelin's anxiety for Steve. 
Jacquelin, therefore, took instant alarm and sent Jerry to 
saddle Steve's horse, while he himself hurried back to 
Steve's room and roused him out of bed. At first, Steve 
was wholly incredulous. Jerry was just drunk, he declared , 
sleepily. But when Jerry appeared, though certainly he 
was not sober, he told a story which made Steve grave 
enough. The whole expedition v/as, according to his ac- 
count, to capture Steve. Leech and Captain McKaffle and 


the captain of the trooj) had all said so. Steve's horse was 
saddled at the door. Steve still demurred. He'd be con- 
demned if he'd run away ; he'd stay, and, if what Jerry said 
was true, would settle with Leech, the whole score then 
and there. He went back into his room and put his pistol 
in his pocket. This Jacquelin declared was madness. It 
M^ould only bring down vengeance on the whole County. 
What could Steve do against Government troops ? Jerry 
added another argument : " Colonel Leech ain' gwiue to 
meet him. He done gone off with some other soldiers," 
he asserted. 

Steve turned to Jacquelin. " How can I leave you. 
Jack ? I'm not a dog." 

" Why, what can they do with me ? " laughed Jacquelin. 
" They are after you about the Ku Klux, and I was not 
even in the country." He was still hurrying him. 

Thus urged, Steve consented to go, and mounting his 
horse rode out a back way. To his surprise, he found the 
lane already picketed. He turned to take another road. 
As he wheeled into it he saw a squadron of troops at either 
end riding into the village toward him. He was shut in 
between them, with a high fence on either side. The only 
chance of escaj)ing was across the fields. He acted quickly. 
Breasting his horse at the fence, he cleared it, and, dashing 
across the court-green, cleared that on the other side, and 
so made his way out of the village, taking the fences as he 
came to them. 

Ten minutes later Jacquelin was arrested on a warrant 
sworn out before McRaffle as a commissioner of the court, 
and so, during the morning, was nearly every other man 
in the village. 

Jacquelin no sooner looked at Leech, than he knew that 
it was not only Steve that he had come for. As Leech 
gazed on him his eyes watered, if his mouth did not ; and 
he spoke in a sympathetic whine. 

Dr. Cary heard of the raid and of the arrest of his friends 
that morning as he came home from Miss Bush's sick bed- 


side, by which he had sjoent the night. He was tired and 
fagged ; but he said he must go down to the court-house 
and see about the matter. Mrs. Gary and Blair tried to 
dissuade him. He needed rest, tliey urged. And, indeed, 
he looked it. His face was worn, and his eyes glowed 
deep under his brows. 

"My dear, I must go. I hear they have made a clean 
sweejD, and arrested nearly every man in tlie place." 

"■ They may arrest you, if you go." 

"^ Tliey cannot possibly have anything against me," he 
said. " But if they should, it would malie no difference. 
I must go and see about my friends." Tlie ladies ad- 
mitted this. 

So he rode off. Mrs. Gary and Blair looked wistfully 
after him as he passed slowly down the road through the 
apple-trees. He rode more slowly now than he used to do, 
and not so erect in the saddle. 

He was about half-way to the village when he met Andy 
Stamj^er riding hard, who stopped to give him the news. 
Tliey had arrested nearly every man in the village, Andy 
said, and were now sending out parties to make arrests in 
the country. General Legaie, and Jacquelin Gray, and 
Mr. Dockett, and even Mr. Langstaff had been arrested. 
Leech had come with them, and the prisoners were being 
taken up to Leech's house, where they were to be tried be- 
fore McUaffle, the commissioner. Gaptain Steve had got 
away, and had tried to meet Leech ; but Leech was too 
smart for that. 

" And they are after you -and me too. Doctor," said 
Andy. " Where are you going ? " 

Dr. Gary told him. Andy tried to dissuade him. "What's 
the use ? You can't do any good. They'll just arrest you 
too. My wife made me come away. I tell you. Doctor, 
it's worse than the war," said Andy. " I never would 
have surrendered, if I'd thought it ud 'a come to this." 
There was a sudden flash of wrath in his blue eyes. "I've 
often been tempted to git even with that Still and that 


Leech, and I've shut my ears and turned away ; but if I'd 
known 't 'ad come to this, d — d if I wouldn't have done 

Dr. Gary soothed him with his calm assurance, and as 
the Doctor started to go, Andy turned. 

" If you're goin', I'm goin' with you," he said. " But 
first I must go by and tell Delia Dove." 

The Doctor tried to assure him that it was not necessary 
for him to surrender himself; but Andy was firm. "It 
might have been all right," he said, if he had not met the 
Doctor ; but Delia Dove would never forgive him if he let 
the Doctor go into a trouble by himself and he stayed out 
— 'twould be too much like running away. " I tell you. 
Doctor," said Andy, " if Delia Dove had been where I was, 
she'd never 'a surrendered. If there'd been her and a few 
more like her, there wouldn't 'a been any surrender." 

The Doctor smiled, and, leaving him to go by and make 
his peace with Mrs. Stamper, rode slowly on to town. 

He found the roads picketed as in time of war ; but the 
pickets let him tlii'ough. He had scarcely entered the vil- 
lage when he met Leech. He was bustling about with a 
bundle of books under his thin arm. The Doctor greeted 
him coldly, and Leech returned the greeting almost warmly. 
He was really pleased to see the Doctor. 

The Doctor expressed his astonishment and indignation 
at the step that had been taken. Leech was deprecatory. 

" I have heard that I am wanted also. Colonel Leech," 
said the Doctor, calmly. *' I am present to answ^er any 
charge that can be brought against me." 

Leech smiled almost sadly. He had no doubt in the 
world that the Doctor could do so. Keally, he himself 
had very little knowledge of the matter, and none at all as 
to the Doctor's case. The Doctor could probably find out 
by applying to the ofiicer in command. He passed on, 
leaving the old gentleman in doubt if he could know what 
was going on. Within ten minutes Dr. Cary was arrested 
by an officer accompanied by a file of soldiers. When he 


reached Leech's house, he fonnd more of his old friends 
assembled there than he conld have found anywhere else in 
the County that day. It was with mingled feelings that 
they met each other. In one way they were deeply in- 
censed ; in another, it was so grotesque that they were 
amused as one after another they were brought in, with- 
out the slightest idea of the cause of their arrest. 

However, it soon ceased to be matter for liilarity. The 
soldiers who were their guards were simply coldly indiffer- 
ent, and ordered them about as they would have done any 
other criminals. But Leech was feline. He oozed with 
satisfaction and complacency. Andy Stamper was one of 
the last to appear, and when he was brought in he was a 
sorry sight. He had not been given the privilege of surren- 
dering himself. As he was taking leave of his wife a posse 
had appeared, with Perdue the jailer at their head, with a 
warrant for him. Andy had insisted that he would go and 
surrender himself, but would not be arrested. A figlit 
had ensued, in which tliough, as Perdue's broken head 
testified, Andy had borne himself valoronsly. Andy had 
been overpowered ; and he was brought to jail, fastened on 
his mule, with a trace-chain about his body and a bag 
over his head. The prisoners were first marched to Leech's 
big house, and were called out one by one and taken into a 
wing room, where they were arraigned before McEaffle, as 
a commissioner, on the charge of treason and rebellion. 
The specific act was the attack on the jail that night. The 
witnesses were the jailer. Perdue ; a negro who had been in 
the jail that night, and Bushman, the man whom Steve Al- 
len had ordered out of the ranks for insubordination and 
threats against the prisoners. Leech himself was present, 
and was the inspiration and director of each prosecution. 
He sat beside the Commissioner and instructed him in 
every case. Toward Jacquelin he was i)articularly atten- 
tive. He purred around him. 

When Dr. Cary's turn came, neither he nor anyone else 
had any doubt that he would be at once discharged. He 


was one of the last to be called. He had taken no part 
whatever in the attack on the Jail ; all that he had done had 
been to try and dissnade from it those who made the assault, 
and, failing in that, he had waited, in case anyone should be 
injured, to render what professional aid might be necessary. 
When he was brought before Leech he was sensible at once 
of some sort of change in the man. Always somewliat fur- 
tive in his manner, the carpet-bagger now had something 
feline about him. He had evidently prepared to act a part. 
He was dressed in a long black coat, with a white tie 
which gave him a quasi-clerical touch, and his exjoression 
had taken on a sympathetic regretfuluess. A light almost 
tender, if it had not been so Joyous, beamed from his mild 
blue eyes, and when he sj^oke his voice had a singular wliine 
of apparent self-abnegation. The Doctor was instantly 
conscious of the change in him. 

" The tiger is loose in this man," he said to himself. 
Leech called the Commissioner's attention to the Doctor's 
presence, and greeted him sadly. The Doctor acknowl- 
edged the salute gravely, and stated to the Commissioner 
his views as to the error that had led to his arrest. Before 
he was through, however, he was addressing Leech. A 
glint shone in Leech's eyes for a second. 

"Yes, it would seem so," he said, reflectively, with a 
slight twang in his voice. " I should think that all that 
would be necessary would be for you to mention it to the 
Court." He looked at the Commissioner as if for cor- 
roboration. McRaffle's sallow face actually flushed ; but 
he kept his eyes on his paper. 

" Why, you are the real power," said the Doctor ; " you 
are the one who has authority." 

Leech smiled almost wanly. 

" Oh, no, my dear sir, you do me too much honor. 
I am but the humble instrument of the law. I bind and 
loose only as it is given me, my dear sir." His voice liad 
grown more nasal and his blue eyes beamed. He laid his 
hand tenderly on the Doctor's shoulder and smiled half- 


sadly. The Doctor moved a step fartlier off, bis tliin nos- 
trils quivering slightly. 

''Very well. I am not afraid. Only don't my-dear-sir 
me, if yon please. I shall state frankly all I know about 
the matter, and ex2)ect to be discharged now and at once." 

" Yes, that's right. No doubt of it. I shall be glad to 
do what I can to further your wishes. I will sjoeak to the 
Commissioner." lie smiled blandly. 

He did so, holding a long whispered conversation with 
McRaffle, and the Doctor's case was taken up. The Doctor 
made his statement, and made it fully and frankly, and 
it was taken down. When, however, it was finished, he 
was not discharged. He was asked to give the names of 
those who were in the crowd that night, and refused. 
Leech approached, and tenderly and solicitously urged 
him to do so. " My dear sir, don't you see how impossible 
it will be for me to assist you if you persist in what is 
really a contempt of court ? " 

" Do you suppose I would tell you to save my life ? " 
said Dr. Gary. 

Leech shook his head sadly. He was really grieved. 

" Perhaps your Commissioner might supply you names," 
snapped General Legale. McRaffle looked up at him aiul 
tried to face his gaze ; but it was in vain. His eyes dropped 
before the General's withering scorn. 

The Doctor was held ''on his own confession," the com- 
missioner said. Old Mr. Langstaff was sent on in the 
same way ; and by nightfall the entire party were in jail, 
sent on to the next term of the court to be held at the 

It was late in the afternoon when the prisoners were 
conducted to prison. Leech himself headed the proces- 
sion, walking with impressive solemnity a little in advance 
of the guard. Quite a large crowd had assembled, mostly 
negroes ; though there were some white men on the edges, 
looking on with grim faces and glowing eyes, their liats 
drawn down and their speech low, hardly articulate mut- 


terings. All clay long, since tlie news of the arrival of 
the soldiery and their work, the negroes had been coming 
into the village, and they now lined the roadside and 
packed the court-green near the jail. As the procession 
made its way they followed it with shouts of derision. 
" Awe, my Lawd ! Ef dee ain gwine put 'em into de 
jail ! " cried out a young slattern, shrilly ; at which there 
was a shout of laughter. 

" Amy, come heah, and look at dis one," shrieked an- 
other. '' Look at dat ole one. Don't I hope dee'll hang 
de ole deble ! " 

" Shut your mouth, you black huzzy," said a tall old 
negro, sternly, in solemn rebuke. The girl gave a shrill, 
nervous laugh, and, pulling her friend by the hand, jiushed 
her way nearer the prisoners. 

" Dese heah young gals is too free wid dee mouis ! " 
complained another old negro to the taller one. Old 
Tarquin vouchsafed no answer. His burning eyes were 
fastened on his master's tall form as the Doctor marched 
to the black door before him. 

On the edge of the throng, though sufficiently dis- 
guised not to be recognized casually, was another form, 
also with burning eyes, which were, however, fastened not 
on Dr. Gary, but on Colonel Leech. Steve Allen had 
come back that day, determined if he met Leech to offer 
him a pistol and settle the questions between them, on the 

As Dr. Gary passed into the jail, he involuntarily stooped. 
As the heavy door closed behind the prisoners, there was 
such a wild shout of triumpli from the ragged crowd that 
surged about the space outside that the dull, indifferent 
soldiers in line before the door looked up and scowled, 
with side glances and muttered speeches to each other ; 
while on the outskirts the white men gathered together 
in groups and talked in low tones, their faces dark with 
impotent rage, but none the less dangerous because they, 
too, were bound by shackles. 


Excitement was hardly the name for the extraordinary 
sensation the arrests had caused. It was a bolt from a clear 
sky. . By some curious law, whenever a step was taken 
against the whites the negroes became excited ; and the 
arrest of so many of the leading men of the County had 
thrown them into a condition of the wildest commotion. 
They came flocking into the village, forming and march- 
ing in a sort of order, with shouts and yells of triumph. 
They held meetings about the court-green, preached and 
prayed and sang hymns, shouting derisively about the 
jail, and yelling insults against the whites. Had anyone 
seen the throng, he would never have believed that the wild 
mob that hooted and yelled about the village were the 
quiet, orderly, and amiable people who but the day before 
tilled the fields or laughed about their cabins. It needed 
all the power of the troops stationed at the court-house to 
restrain them. 

It, however, was not only the negroes who were excited. 
The news had spread rapidly. The whites also were 
aroused, and men from every direction were riding toward 
the county seat, their faces stern and grim. By nightfall 
the village was overflowing, and they were still arriving. 
As always, their presence awed and quieted the negroes. 
Many of them stoj^ped outside the "town. The presence of 
regular soldiers meant the presence of a force they were 
compelled to recognize. The two words heard were " the 
Government " and " Leech." Suddenly the two had become 
one. Leech was the Government, and the Government was 
Leech : no longer merely the State — the Carpet-bag Gov- 
ernment — but the Government. He represented and was 
represented by tlie blue-coated, silent, impassive men who 
were quartered in the court-house and moved inditfer- 
eutly among the citizens — disliked, but careless whether it 
were so or not. The carpet-bagger had suddenly ceased to 
be a mere individual — he had become a ^^ower. For the 
first time he was not only hated, but feared. Men who had 
braved his militia, which had outnumbered them twenty to 


one, who had outscowled him face to face a hundred times, 
now glanced at him furtively and sank their voices as he 
passed. Leech was quick to note the difference, and his 
heart swelled with pride. He walked backward and for- 
ward through the throng many times, his long coat flapping 
behind him, his mild eyes j^eering through his spectacles, 
his wan smile flickering about his mouth, his book, " The 
Statutes of the United States," clasped under his arm, his 
brow bent as if in meditation. He felt that he was feared, 
and it was unction to his spirit. He had bided his time and 
had triumphed. Waiting till they least expected it, he 
had at one blow struck down every enemy. He, Jonadab 
Leech, had done it ; and they were under his feet. They 
knew it, and they feared him. He meant them to know it 
and fear him. For this reason he had sat by the Commis- 
sioner all day and instructed him ; for this reason he had 
led the march to the jail. 

But had he struck all down ? No. One had escaped. 
At the thought. Leech's smile died away, and a dark, 
threatening look took its place. His chief enemy, the one 
he most hated and feared, had escaped. Those he had 
caught were well enough, but it was Steve Allen whom he 
was after chiefl}^ — Steve Allen, who had scouted and 
braved and defied him so often, who had derided him and 
thwarted him and stung him. He had planned the whole 
affair mainly for Steve, and now the enemy had slipped 
through his fingers. It turned all the rest of his success 
into failure. His triumph changed to dust and ashes on 
his lips. He was enraged. He would catch him. One 
moment he denounced his escape as treachery, the next 
he boasted that he would find him and bring him in alive 
or dead. A rumor came to him that night that Captain 
Allen was not far off. Indeed, he was not, but Leech 
slept at the hotel, guarded by soldiers. 

Leech headed, next day, a squad — not a small one 
— and visited every house in the neighborhood that Steve 
frequented, searching the houses and proclaiming his de- 


termination to have him. alive or dead. He had the pleas- 
ure of searching once more the cottage where Miss 
Thomasia lived. Miss Thomasia received him at the door. 
She was white with apprehension and indignation. Her 
apprehension^ however, was not for herself, but for Steve, 
who had only just ridden over the hill, and who had 
left a message for Leech that he was looking for him, 
too. Leech assured her sympathetically that she need not 
be disturbed. He had to do his duty — a painful duty, but 
it was necessary to execute the law. " ' They who take the 
sword shall perish by the sword,'" he said, with a mourn- 
ful smile and a shake of the head, and a side look at Miss 

" Yes, I have heard that, and I commend it to you, sir," 
Miss Thomasia declared, with unexpected spirit. " God 
is the avenger of tlie guiltless, and He sometimes employs 
those who are persecuted as His instruments." 

Leech left there and went to Dr. Gary's. Here, too, 
however, he was doomed to disappointment. Mrs. Gary 
and Miss Blair had gone down to the court-house to look 
after the Doctor, and the family was represented by 
Mammy Krenda, whose dark looks and hostile attitude im- 
plied too much for Leech to try her. He contented him- 
self with announcing to her that he was hunting for Steve 
Allen, and had a warrant for his arrest. 

" Yes, I heah you' huntin' for him," said the old woman, 
quietly. '' Well, you better mine some day he don't go 
huntin' for you. When he ready, I reckon you'll fine 

" I mean to have him, alive or dead," said Leech. " It 
don't make any difference to me," he laughed. 

" No, I heah say you say dat," replied the old woman, 
placidly. " AYell, 'twould meek right smart difference to 
him, I spec' ; an' when you push folks dat fur, you'se got 
to have mighty sho stan'in' place." 

This piece of philosophy did not strike home to Leech 
at the time ; but a little later it came back to him, and re- 


mained with liim so much that it worried liim. He re- 
turned to the court-honse without having accomplished 
his mission. He made np his mind that the old woman 
knew where Captain Allen had gone ; but he had too vivid 
a recollection of his last contest with her to try her again. 
On his arrival at the court-house that evening, however, 
he found that Tarquin was there, having accompanied 
his mistresses, and he sent a file of soldiers to bring the 
old man before him. When Tarquin was brought in, he 
looked so stately and showed so much dignity that Leech 
for a moment had a feeling that, perhaps, he had made a 
mistake. McRaffle was present, sitting with that inscrut- 
able look on his dark face. The Commissioner had already 
gained a reputation for as much severity in his new office 
as rumor had connected with his name in a less authorized 
capacity. And Leech had expected the old servant to be 
frightened. Instead, his head was so erect and his mouth 
so calm that Leech instinctively thought of Dr. Cary. 

However, he began to question the old servant. He 
stated that he knew where Captain Allen was, and that 
Tarquin had just as well tell. He did not wish to be 
severe with him, he said, but it was his duty, as a repre- 
sentative of the Government, to ascertain ; and while on 
one side was the penalty of the law, on the other was a 
high reward. The old fellow listened so silently that 
Leech, as he proceeded, began to think he had made an 
impression, and a gleam of satisfaction lit xi]) his eyes. 
When he was through, there was an expression very like 
scorn on old Tarquin's face. 

" I don't know where he is. Colonel Leech," he said. 
" But do you suppose I would tell you if I did ? If I 
betrayed a gentleman, I couldn' look my master in the 
face." Leech was taken aback. 

"Here, that's all nonsense," he snarled. "I'm the 
Government, and I'll make you tell." But Tarquin was 

" You can't terrify me with your threats. Colonel 


Leech/' he said, calmly. '' I served with my master 
through the war." 

" If you don't tell, I'll send you to jail ; that's what I'll 

''You have already sent better gentlemen there," said 
the old servant, quietly, and with a dignity that lloored the 
other completely. Leech remembered suddenly Hiram 
Still's warning to him long ago, "With these quality nig- 
gers, you can't do nothin' that way." 

He suddenly tried another course, and began to argue 
with Tarquin. It was his duty to the Grovernment wliich 
had set him free, and would pay handsomely. Tarquin 
met him again. 

" Colonel Leech, my master offered me my freedom 
before the war, and I wouldn't take it. You may get 
some poor creatures to betray with such a bribe, but no 
gentleman will sell himself." He bowed. Leech could 
not help enjoying the scowl that came on McRaffle's face. 
But the old man was oblivious of it. 

" I have voted with the Government since we were free, 
because I thought it my duty ; but I tell you now, suh, 
what you are doin' to-day will hurt you mo' than 'twill 
help you. What you sow, you've got to reap." 

" Ah, pshaw ! " sneered Leech, " I don't believe you 
know where Captain Allen is ? " 

" I told you I did not," said the old man, with unruffled 

Leech saw that it was useless to try him further in that 
direction, and, thinking that he might have gone too far, 
he took out his pocket-book. 

" Here ; I was just testing you," he said, with a well- 
feigned smile. He extracted a dollar note and held it out. 

" Nor, suh ; I don't want your money," said Tarquin, 
calmly. He bowed coldly, and, turning slowly, walked out. 

Leech sat for some time in deep reflection. He was won- 
dering what the secret was that controlled these peopk^ 
without threats or bribery. Here he was, almost on the 


point of attaining his highest ambition, and he was be- 
ginning to find tliat he was afraid of the instruments he 
employed. He had never seen a negro insolent to one of 
the old residents except under the instigation of himself 
or someone else like him, and yet to him they were so in- 
solent that at times even he could hardly tolerate it. A 
strange feeling came to him, as if he were in a cage with 
some, wild animal whose keeper he had driven away, and 
which he had petted and fed until it had gotten beyond 
him. He could control it only by continually feeding it, 
and it was steadily demanding more and more. Would 
the supply from which he had drawn give out ? And 
then what would happen ? He was aroused from his 
thoughts by McRaffle. He gave a short laugh. 

" Called your hand, rather, didn't he ?" 

Leech tried hard to look composed. 

" Why didn't you turn him over to me ? I'd have got 
it out of him. Trouble about you is, you don't know the 
game. You are all right when your hand's full, but you 
haven't got the courage to bet on your hand if it's weak. 
You either bluster till a child would know you were bluff- 
ing, or else you funk and lay your hand down. I told you 
you couldn't do anything with these old fellows that have 
held on. If they'd been going to come over, they'd have 
done so long ago. But if you can't get them, you can 
others. You leave it to me, and I'll find out where your 
friend Allen is." 

" Well, go on and do it, and don't talk so much about 
it," snarled Leech, angrily. '' I mean to have him, alive 
or dead." 

"■ And I rather think you'd prefer the latter," sneered 
McRaffle, darkly. 

" No ; vengeance belongeth unto God." His tone was 

" Look here. Leech," said the other, with cold contempt, 
^'you make me sick. I've done many things, but I'm 
blanked if I ever quoted Scripture to cover my meanness. 


You're thinking of Still ; I'm not him. Yon move heaven 
and earth to take your vengeance, and then talk about it 
belonging to God. You think you are a God, but you are 
a mighty small one. And you can't fool Steve Allen, I tell 
you. If you give me a thousand dollars, I'll get him for 
you, alive or dead." 

" You said you'd get him for two hundred, and I have 
offered that reward," said Leech. 

" The price has risen," said McRaffle, coolly. " You 
haven't got him, have you ? If Allen runs across you, 
you'll wish yon had paid me five thousand ; and you better 
look out that he don't." He rose and lounged toward the 

" Well, you get him, and we'll \-x\k about the price," 
said Leech. 

" We'll talk of it before that. Colonel," said McRaffle, 
slowly to himseli 

Leech had some compensation next day when he super- 
intended the arrangements for the transfer of his prison- 
ers to the city. His office was besieged all day with the 
friends and relatives of the prisoners, offering bail and 
begging their release, or, at least, that he would allow them 
to remain in the County until .the time for tlie term of 
court to begin. To all he returned the same answer — he 
was " only a humble minister of the law ; the law must 
take its course." He found this answer satisfactory. It 
implied that he could if he would, and at the same time 
left an impression of the inscrutable character of the pun- 
ishment to come. He had begun to feel very virtuous. 
Prom being a humble instrument of Providence, he had 
come to feel as if he were a part of Providence itself. 
The thought made his bosom swell. It was so sweet to 
find himself in this position, that he determined to 
lengthen out the pleasure ; so, instead of sending all his 
prisoners down to the city at once, he divided them into 
two lots and shipped only half of them at first, keeping 
the others in jail in the County until another day. What 


his reason was no one knew at the time. It was charged 
around the County that he wanted to keep Jacquelin Gray 
until he could secure Steve Allen, so that he might march 
them down handcuffed together, and that he kept Andy 
Stamper and some of the others, so that he might hector 
them j^ersonally. However that was, he kept these in jail 
at Brutusville ; and the others were marched down to the 
station handcuffed, under guard of the soldiers, and with a 
crowd of yelling, hooting negroes running besido them, 
screaming and laughing at them, until one of the officers 
drove tliem to a respectful distance. They were shipped 
to the city in a closed box-car. Leech superintending the 
shipment personally. Just before starting he ajiproached 
Dr. Gary and General Legale, and said that in considera- 
tion of tlieir age he would have them sent down to the sta- 
tion in his carriage. 

''■ Thank you. We wish no exemptions made in our cases 
different from those accorded our neighbors," said Dr, 
Gary, grimly. The General said nothing ; he only looked 

" Now, my dear sirs, this is not Christian," urged 
Leech. " I beg that you will allow me the ^ileasure " 

The little General turned on him so suddenly and with 
such a blaze in his eyes, that Leech sjjrang back, and his 
sentence was never finished. 

" Dog ! " was the only word that reached him. 

So Dr. Cary and General Legale went along with the 
rest, though they were not handcuffed. Old Mr. Lang- 
staff was released on his recognizance, Leech kindly of- 
fering the Commissioner to go his bail himself. 

On Leech's return from the railroad that night, he re- 
quested the officer in command to go through the jail with 
him, and gave him, in a high key, especial orders as to 
guarding it securely. 

*^'It will be guarded securely enough," said the Captain, 
gruilly. He was beginning to find Leech intolerable. 
The last few days' work had sickened him. 


" I'll soon have another prisoner," said Leech as he passed 
the door where Jacquelin was confined. — He raised his voice 
so that it might be heard by those within the cells. — " And 
then we shall relieve yon." 

" Well, I wish yon'd do it quick, for I'm blanked tired 
of this business, I can tell you ! " snapped the Captain. 

" Oh, it won't be long now. A day or two at most. 
We'll have Allen, dead or alive. I had information to-day 
that will secure him. And the court will sit immediately 
to try them." 

The Captain made no answer, except a grunt. Leech 
puffed out his bosom. 

'' A soldier's duty is to obey orders, Captain," he said, 

The Captain turned on him suddenly, his red face red- 
der than ever. " Look here, you bully these men down 
here who haven't anybody to speak up for them ; but don't 
you be trying to teach me my duty. Mister Leech, or I'll 
break your crooked neck, you hear ? " 

He looked so large and threatening that Leech fell back. 
In order to appease the rufSed officer and satisfy him that 
he was not a coward. Leech, just as he was leaving, said 
that he did not care for him to send guards np to his house 
that night, as he had been doing.- 

"All right." 

" 01 course, I mean until toward bedtime, Cajjtain. 1 
tliink it still better to keep them there until I leave. I 
have important documents there. You don't know these 
people as I do. I shall go to the city to-morrow or next 
day. I have business there, and I have the utmost con- 
fidence in your ability to manage things. I shall rej)ort 
your zeal to our friends in Washington." 

"All right," grunted the Captain. And Leech went off. 

Leech started toward his house. "I'll have him re- 
called and get somebody else in his place," he muttered. 

He stopped, and, going to his office, lit a lamp and 
wrote a letter to the authorities urging a transfer of the 


present company, on the ground that the Captain did not 
appear very well adapted for managing the negroes, and 
that he feared it was giving encouragement to those they 
were trying to suppress. 

Wlien he had written his letter, he sat back and began 
to think. He had heard a name that day tliat had disqui- 
eted him. It was the name of the teacher at Mrs. Welch's 
school. He had always supposed her name was Miss May, 
but it seemed that her name was Miss Bush. 

One thing that had worried him in the past more than 
he had ever admitted even to himself had like the others, 
under the influence of his fortunate star, passed wholly 
away. He had married early in life. As his ambition 
rose, his wife had been a clog to him. He had tried to get 
a divorce ; but this she resisted, and he had failed. She 
had, however, consented to a sepax'ation. And he had per- 
suaded her to give up his name and resume her own. Miss 
Bush. He had not heard anything of her in a long time, 
and he was quietly moving to get a divorce on the ground 
of abandonment — of her having abandoned him. AVhen 
this was done, why should he not marry agciin? Miss 
Krafton was a handsome girl. It would make Krafton his 
friend and ally instead of his enemy, and together they 
could own the State. 

Just then there v/as a knock at the door. A servant en- 
tered. A lady wanted to see him. Who was it ? The 
servant did not know. She wanted to see him at once. 
Cariosity prevailed. " Show her in,'' said Leech. She 
entered a moment later. Leech turned deadly white. It 
was Miss Bush. The nest moment his fear gave way to 
rage. He sprang to his feet. " What are you doing here ? 
Where did you come from ? " he snarled. 

She seated herself on a chair near the door. 

"Don't be angry with me, John," she said, quietly. 

'' I am angry. Why shouldn't I be angry with you ? 
You have lied to me." 

" That I have not." She spoke firmly. 


" You have. Wiitit do you call it ? Did you not prom- 
ise never to bother me again ? " 

*' I have not bothered you. I came here to try and pro- 
tect you." 

" You have. You gave me your word never to come 
near me again. What do you want ? " 

" I want to talk to you." 

" Well, talk quick. I have no time to waste on you. I 
am busy." 

" I know you are, and I shall not bother you long. I 
want you to stop prosecuting Dr. Gary and Mr. Gray and 
Captain Allen." 

" What do you know about them ?" asked Leech, in un- 
feigned astonishment. 

*' They are friends of friends of mine. Dr. Gary saved 
my life not long ago." 

"1 wish he'd let you — I'll see you first where I wish 
they were now — in blank." 

*' There is no use in speaking that way, John,'' she said, 

" I don't want you to ' John ' me," he snarled. " I tell 
you I want you to go away." 

*'I am going," she said, sadly. " I will go as soon as I 
can. I have no money." 

" Where is your money ? " 

"I lent it to Captain McRaffle to invest." 

" More fool you ! " 

His manner changed. 

" Will you go if I give you the money ? " 

"Yes" — his face brightened — "as soon as I have fin- 
ished my year here." 

He broke out on her furiously. 

" That's always the way with you. You are such a liar, 
there's no believing you. I wish you were dead." 

"I know you do, John; and I do, too;" she said, 
wearily. " But the issues of life and death belong to 


" Oil, that's just a part of your hypocrisy. Here, if I 
give you money, will you go away ? " 

" Yes, as soon as I can." 

''And will you promise me never to breathe my name to 
a soul while you are here, or let anyone know that you 
know me ? Will you give me your word on that ? " 


He looked at her keenly for a moment. 

" Does anyone know that you — that you ever knew 

She flushed faintly, with distress. 

" Yes, one person — one only." 

Leech sprang to her and seized her roughly. 

" And he ? Who is he ? " 

" Dr. Gary. I told him when I thought I was dying. 
He will not tell." 

He gave a cry of rage. 

" He ! I'd rather have had anyone else know it." He 
flung her from him roughly and stood for a moment lost in 
thought. His countenance cleared up. If Dr. Gary had 
promised not to tell, he knew he would not do so, if his 
life hung on it. 

When he spoke it was in a somewhat changed voice. 

''Remember, you have sworn that you will never men- 
tion it again to a soul, and that you will never come near 
me again as long as you live ! " 

" Yes." She looked at him with pleading eyes, inter- 
lacing her fingers. " Oh, John ! " she gasped, and then 
her voice failed her. 

For answer. Leech opened the door and glanced out into 
the empty passage, then seized her by the shoulder and put 
her outside, and, shutting the door, locked it. 

A minute later she slowly and silently went down the 
dark stairs and out into the night. 



Leech liad a bad half-hour ; but wheu he left his office 
his spirits were rising again. He had weathered many a 
storm before. It would be hard if he could not weather 
this little trouble. He was satisfied that his wife would 
keep her word not to divulge his secret to anyone, and if 
he could but get her away everything would go all right. 
He would be free to marry a handsome and wealthy wom- 
an ; and this alliance would give him complete control of 
the State. With this, what might he not have — wealth 
unlimited, position, unmeasured power — there was no end 
to it ! It all stretched before him a shining track with, at 
the end — it appeared before him for only one brief mo- 
ment — a dazzling point : at the far end of that long track 
a great white house, with the broad avenues reaching in 

every direction. Why not ? Why should he not be ? 

The vision made his head swim. He wijDcd his hand 
across his mouth as though he tasted something actually 

He returned to earth, and, locking his office-door, strolled 
up the hill. The village was all quiet except for the sen- 
tries pacing their beats. 

As Leech walked up under the clear stars, the thought 
came into his mind once more ; and this time he tried to 
follow it step by step. Yes, it was possible. He was rich, 
powerful, fortunate. He would be Grovernor. What might 
he not be ! His enemies had fallen before him — all but 
one, and that one could not escape. He would find him, 
alive or dead ; and then — wealth — power — revenge ! He 



raised his clenched hand and brought it down in the in- 
tensity of his feeling. 

" Yes, by G — d ! I'll have hini;, alive or dead ! " he ex- 
claimed. He was almost at his gate. Two steps brought 
him to it ; and before him in the darkness, waiting for him, 
tall and silent, stood the man he wanted. 

" I hear you are hunting for me," said Steve Allen, 
quietly. " I am here." 

The blood rushed back and forth in Leech's veins as cold 
as ice, as hot as fire. What would he not have given for 
his guards ! Why had he been such a fool as to dismiss 
them ! He thought of his pistol ; but he knew Steve was 
quicker with a pistol than he. So he resorted to craft. 
He would keep him until the guards arrived. 

" How are you. Captain ? Won't you walk in ? " he 
said, with a show of ease, though his voice quavered. He 
thought about offering his hand, but feared to do so. If 
he could only detain him ! 

" Thank you. I will." Steve indicated with a wave of 
his hand that Leech should precede him ; and Leech walked 
before him, knowing that he was his prisoner. Still he 
hoped help would come. They went into his library. 
Steve took a seat. 

" What did you want with me ? " 

" I was only fooling," said Leech, feebly. Steve looked 
so placid that he began to feel reassured. " You know 
there's a warrant out for your arrest ; and the best thing for 
you to do is to surrender quietly. You can clear yourself 
easy enough, and it's just a form. You come with me, and 
I'll do all I can for you." His voice was cajoling, and he 
looked at Steve almost tenderly. ''You know I was only 
fooling about what I said." 

Steve looked at him with cold contempt. " You'll find it 
ill fooling with a desperate man. Let's drop our masks. 
You have made a mistake to push us so far. Yon have 
offered a reward for me, alive or dead. I am here to claim 
it. You are my prisoner, and you know it." He gave Leech 


a glance that made him shiver. " Sit there, and write what I 
tell you." He indicated Leech's desk. Leech, with blanched 
face, took his seat. As he did so he glanced furtively at 
the clock. Secret as the glance was, Steve saw it. 

*' Be quick about it, and don't waste a word. I have no 
time to spare. Eemember, it was alive or dead you wanted 
me." He dictated the words of a safe-conduct : 

" To the Commandant of United States troops in Dis- 
trict No. — . Pass the bearer and companions, and render 
them all the aid possible. For reasons of State," added 
Steve, with a twinkle in his eye, as he glanced over it. 
" Now sign it." 

Leech signed slowly. He was listening with all his 

"Now another." Steve dictated the following to the 
commanding officer in the village: "I have been called 
away unexpectedly on business connected with the man I 
want, Captain Allen. Take no steps in my absence, and 
credit no reports not signed by me personally." Now 
sign it, and add this postscript : " I have decided to pursue 
a more conciliatory policy toward the prisoners. Please 
make them entirely comfortable, and give their friends 
access to them." Sign that, and mark it to be delivered in 
the morning, and leave it on your table. 

" Leave it on my table ? " Leech's face blanched. 

" Yes, you are going with me." 

Just then steps were heard on the walk outside, and the 
murmur of low voices reached them. A gleam of hope 
stole into Leech's face. Steve Allen heard too, and he 
listened intently. As he turned his eyes again on Leech, 
a new light appeared in the latter's eyes ; fear had sudden- 
ly changed to joy. 

"Aha ! Captain Allen, our positions are reversed again. 
Let us drop our masks indeed ! You are my prisoner now. 
Those are my sentries. The house is surrounded by sol- 
diers. Ah! ha-ha-ha!" he laughed, leaning back in his 
chair, eying Steve, and rubbing his hands in glee. 


Steve shifted his seat a little, disj^laying the butt of a 

''You fool!" he said, with that coolness which was 
Leech's envy and despair, and which made him in a way 
admire Steve more than any other man he knew. " Sup- 
pose they are your men ? You are going with me all the 
same. If they come in here, yon are still my prisoner ; and 
one word — one look from you — one bare suspicion on their 
part that I am not going oh your invitation ; that it is not 
voluntary on your part — and you are a dead man." lie 
loosened his pistol, and, while he listened, sat looking at 
Leech with a cool assurance on his face that made Leech 

There was a sharp knock at the outer door. As Steve 
listened his expression changed to one of amusement. 

" Call to them to come in, and remember you were 
never in greater peril than at this moment." 

Leech called, and there was the slow tramp of several 
men in the passageway. 

" Call them in here." 

Leech was becoming jjuzzled. But he could not keep 
down the hope that was dawning on his countenance. He 
called, and they approached the door. Steve did not even 
turn. He was keeping his eyes on a big gilt mirror that 
hung in front of him and showed both the door and 

The men reached the door and knocked again ; then 
Oldened it, and three men in United States uniform stood 
in the doorway. Steve's hand left his pistol, and the eyes 
in the mirror were filled with a more amused smile as 
he glanced from them to Leech. A radiant joy sprang 
into Leech's face. He gave a dive behind his desk, shout- 
ing, " Seize that man. Shoot him if he lifts his hand ! " 

Nothing of the kind, however, occurred. At a sign from 
Steve, the three men came inside the room and closed the 
door behind them. 

" Come out. Leech. These are my men, not yours," 


Sciid Steve. " Yon are too big a coward to fool with ; 
come out. Pull him out, one of you." And the man 
nearest Leech caught him by the arm and dragged him uj) 
on his feet, gasping and Avhite with returning terror as he 
saw the trick that had been played him. 

"^ Did you think I was such a fool as that ? " Steve 
asked, contemptuously. '^Come, we have no more time 
to lose. Fetch him along, men." He turned to the door, 
and the next moment Leech was seized and hustled out at 
a trot. The sight of a pistol in the hand of one of the 
men kept him quiet. At the door a gag was put into his 
mouth, a cap was pulled down over his eyes, and his arms 
were pinioned to his side. He was conscious that the 
lamps were extinguished, and the key turned in the lock 
behind him. Then he was borne to his gate, set on a 
horse, and carried off through the darkness at a gallop. IIo 
gave a groan of terror. " Eemember Andy Stamper," said 
one of the men, and Leech remembered well enough. How 
far they went the prisoner had no means of knowing. After 
awhile the gag was taken from his mouth ; but he was told 
that the least outcry would mean his death. They trav- 
elled at a brisk gait all niglit, and he knew that he had 
several men in his escort ; but though they at times talked 
together in undertones, they did not address him and were 
deaf to his speeches. Much of the Journey was through 
woods, and several times they forded rivers, and toward 
the end they must have left all beaten tracks, for they rodo 
through bushes so dense as almost to sweep him from his 
horse; then they descended a steep hill, forded a stream, 
and, a little later, Leech was lifted from his horse, borne, 
half-dead with fright and fatigue, into a house, down a 
flight of steps, and laid on a bed. One of the men who 
brought him in lighted a candle and gave him a drink 
of whiskey, which revived him ; and Leech found that he 
was in a large room with stone walls, furnished simply, 
like a bedroom, and ventilated from the top. 

The man who was left with him was a stranger to him. 


and, as he turned to go, Leech asked liim to tell him where 
he was and what they were going to do with him. He felt 
that it was his Last cliance. 

" Maybe keep you as a hostage, maybe not." 

" As a hostage ? " 

" That's the Commander's idea. As a hostage foi' those 
you've arrested, and I reckon what the Capt'n says will 
prevail. Good-by." He shut the door and bolted it be- 
hind him, leaving Leech alone. 

This, then, explained what Steve Allen meant by what 
he said. He was a prisoner, to be held as a hostage for 
those he had arrested. There was a bed in the room ; 
and Leech was so fatigued that he fell asleep, and slept 
until he was awakened by the guard bringing him some- 
thing to eat. This man, like the others, w'as masked, and 
he refused to talk at all. 

'' What will they do with me ? " asked Leech. 

'' Depends on what orders you've given about those 
you've arrested," said the man in a voice which Leech 
knew was feigned. He was going. Leech determined to 
make one more effort. 

" Wait, please. I'm rich. No, I'm not rich ; but I 
have friends who are who would pay well if you — if I 
were to get back to them." His voice had grown confi- 

" Shouldn't be surprised." The tone was rather dry ; 
but that might have been due to the fact that the voice 
was disguised. And as he appeared acquiescent. Leech 
took courage. He moved a little nearer to him. ''I 
could make it worth your while to let me go," he said, 
insinuatingly. The man waited. Leech's hopes revived. 
Mc Raffle had sold out; why not buy this man? He was 
plainer. "Why not let me out?" The guard was con- 
sidering. " Help me, and help me get hold of — just help 
me, and I will see that you and your friends receive full 
pardon, and will make you rich." 

The guard pulled off his mask. It was Steve Allen 


himself. " Good-niglit ;" and he was gone, leaving Leech 
with his heart in his mouth. 

There was great excitement in the County over the 
disappearance of Major Leech ; but it was suppressed ex- 
citement, and, curious as it may seem, his absence had 
the immediate effect of quieting the negroes. They were 
struck with awe at either the boldness or the mystery of 
his abduction, and almost within a night after he dis- 
appeared they had subsided. One who had seen them 
parading and yelling with defiance and delight the day 
that Leech led his handcuffed prisoners to the station to 
ship them off to prison, would not have recognized the 
awe-struck and civil people who now went back and forth 
so quietly to their work. It seemed almost a miracle. 

All sorts of tales were published in the public press as to 
this latest outrage, and there was much denunciation ; but 
no action was taken immediately, and for a time, at least, 
the old County was once more under the rule of its own 

Owing partly to the letter Leech had written Just before 
his disappearance, and partly to the request of the Captain 
of the company, who was heartily tired of his work, an order 
had been issued transferring that officer's company to an- 
other post; and he had left with. his company before the 
fact of Leech's abduction became known. An ajjpeal was 
made to the Governor to declare the County under mar- 
tiallaw ; but though he talked about it loudly enough, and 
made many threats, he did not carry out his threats im- 
mediately. Perhaps the Governor was not too anxious 
to go into an investigation that might, instead of proving 
Leech to have been murdered, result in bringing back 
into the field his most formidable rival. 

It, however, was deemed by the higher authorities that 
something must be done to vindicate the majesty of the 
law, and it was decided to send other troops to the County. 
The selection of troops, however, had been proved by the 
history of the County to be a matter of more than ordi- 


nary delicacy. Several different bodies had been sent there 
without accomplishing what had been hoped for. 

It happened that Thurston^s command had just re- 
turned from the Northwest and was awaiting some dis- 
posal. It was remembered that this same troop had once 
quieted things in the disturbed region, and had given, at 
least, more of a show of peace than any of their numerous 
successors had done. This was one view of the case. 
There was perhaps another view which may have influ- 
enced some. So Thurston was unexpectedly dispatched 
with his command to the place from which he had been 
ordered several years before. His appearance was a com- 
plete surprise to the old residents, and the effect was im- 
mediately apparent. 

It was not known what it signified. Some thought it 
meant the immediate placing of the County under martial 
law, and the arrest of the remaining citizens. Others held 
differently. Whatever it meant, the excitement quieted 
down. The whites had had experience with this company, 
and felt that they could be relied on. The blacks recog- 
nized that a stronger power had come among them, and 
that it meant order and obedience. 

When Captain Thurston dismounted from his horse on 
the very ground on which he had dismounted a number of 
years before, he had a curious feeling of mingled pleasure 
and dissatisfaction. There, amid the big trees, stood the 
old court-house, massive and imposing as it had looked 
that day when he had guyed old Mr. Dockett about its 
architecture, and told him that it was finer than anything 
in Athens ; there, were the same great trees ; there the 
same rows of old offices, only a little more dilapidated ; 
there the same moody faces of the few whites, and the same 
crowd of idling negroes lagging about his troop. He 
turned and looked at the clerk's office, almost expecting to 
see the same rosy, girlish face looking out at him defiantly. 
Instead, a brawny negro in black clothes, with a beaver 
hat cocked on the side of his head, was lounging in the 


door smoking a cigar. It gave the captain an unpleasant 
shock ; and as he made arrangements about placing his 
camp he wondered where old Mr. Dockett was now, and how 
his pretty daughter was coming on. He had not heard 
from her since his last campaign. She was probably mar- 
ried. The idea gave him an unpleasant sensation, lie 
always hated to hear of any pretty girl marrying. It 
seemed to make the world lonelier. The negro in the door 
sauntered across toward the camp and spoke to some of 
the soldiers familiarly, his silk hat on the side of his head, 
his cigar rolling in his mouth. 

•^^ What company is this, men ?" 

The words reached the Captain. One of the men who 
was working told him shortly. 

" Who's your Captain ?" 

'' There he is." 

Thurston had grown stouter, and the negro did not rec- 
ognize him. 

" That little man ? What's his name ? " 

Thurston caught the speech and, before the soldier 
could answer, bawled at the negro, '^Come here and take 
hold of these things, and don't stand there interfering with 
the men." The darky looked at him in blank amaze- 

''Who? Me?" 

" Yes, you." 

" Not me ; you don't know who I am ! " He reared 
himself back and stuck his thumbs in his armholes. 

"No, and 1 don't care a hang either," said the little 
Captain. ''Sergeant, make that man take hold of those 
things and put them in place." 

" I'm Senator Ash," declared the man, surlily, swelling 
with importance, and turning to walk away. 

"Halt, there," said the soldier, coldly. 

Nicholas Ash turned at the tone, to find the sergeant 
quietly taking his pistol from the holster. 

" You come back here." 


"I'm Senator Ash." 

" Well, I don't give a who you are ; if you are Cap- 
tain Jack himself, you catch hold there, as the Ca2:>tain 
says, or 'twill be the worse for you. He won't stand no 
foolishness. I've seen him string a man up for less than 
you have said already." And the weather-beaten soldier 
looked so coldly on the senator that the latter deemed it 
best to go through the form of obeying, and, swallowing 
his rage as best he might, took hold and did his first man- 
ual labor in some years. 

This was the first official act of Captain Thurston on his 
return, and, though it was an accident, it, perhaps, saved 
him trouble in the future. 

The Captain availed himself of the earliest opportunity to 
hunt up his old friends. When he had pitched his camp 
and got settled, he sauntered up to Mr. Dockett's. As 
he walked along he noted the changes that had occurred 
since he went away. The yards were more uncared for, the 
houses more dilapidated, and the fences more broken. As 
he entered the Dockett yard, he was pleased to observe that 
it was kept in its old trim order. The breath of flowers 
that he remembered so well, and had always associated with 
the place, met him as of old. When he opened the gate he 
saw that there were several persons on the porch ; but as 
he approaghed they all rose and disap]3eared in the house. 
There were one or two white dresses in the party. He had 
not long to wait. At his knock Mrs. Dockett herself ap- 
peared, and he thought he could see the firm set of her 
mouth and the glint in her eyes as she bore down upon 
him. She looked much older. She did not appear sur- 
prised to see him. She invited him in, but did not say 
anything about her daughter ; and at length the Captain 
had to ask after her. She was very well, she thanked him. 
She had some young friends with her. 

In this condition of affairs. Captain Thurston had re- 
course to stratagem. He adroitly turned the conversation 
to Rupert Gray, and began to tell of his success in the 


West, and of the incident when he had showed such brav- 
ery while acting as a scout with him. He was conscious 
at once of the change in the good lady's manner, and of 
the increased interest she betrayed ; so he dilated on it at 
some length. No one ever had a warmer historian. He 
made Kupert out a hero, and was congratulating himself 
secretly on his success, when, with a sniH, Mrs. Dockett de- 
clared that she was not surprised at RujDert's acting so. It 
was only what she should have expected from one of their 
young men, and she was not surprised that the Yankees 
should have been obliged to call on him to help them. But 
she was surprised that Captain Thurston should have ex- 
posed a boy like Rupert, hardly more than a child, to such 
danger. Why had he not gone himself to rescue his men ? 
Thurston could not help laughing at the turn she gave his 
story. This shot appeared, however, to have somewhat 
cleared the atmosphere. Mrs. Dockett began to unbend. 
She " would see her daughter ; perhaps, she would come 
in ; she would like to hear of Rupert." Just then, whether 
for this reason or one in which the visitor had a more per- 
sonal concern, the door opened and Miss Dockett walked 
in unbidden. She, too, had grown older since Thurston 
went away ; but the change was not to her disadvantage. 
The plump little figure had developed ; the round face had 
in it more force ; and she had become, if not a .very pret- 
ty woman, at least a very comely one. She greeted the 
Oaj^tain distantly, but not coldly. She began by making 
war at once, and that the little officer was used to. It was 
only indifference that he could not stand. 

" Well, and so you have come back, and I suppose you 
will expect us all to get down on our knees to you ? " she 
said, her chin a little elevated. 

" No, not you. I'll make a treaty with you, if you 
won't insist on my getting down on mine to you," he 

*' To me ? I supposed Miss Welch was the only one you 
did that to." 


This was encouraging, and the little Captain was in- 
stantly at his ease. 

" Miss Welch ? Who is Miss Welch ? " 

" Come, now, don't be trying that with me ; I know all 
about it, so you might as well tell me. Perhaps, you'll 
need my assistance. All the gentlemen seem to be victims 
to her charms. Captain Allen thinks there is no one like 
her. Some men, when they are discarded, take to drink, 
but here they seem to take to Miss Welch." 

"Well, some men need one kind of stimulant, and some 
another ; now, I like mine with a proper mixture of sjiirit 
and sweetening." The little Captain's eyes were helping 
him all they could. 

''I don't know what you mean, I'm sure." She looked 
down coyly. 

" Say, a sort of peach and honey ? " 

" You men have such vulgar similes." The little nose 
was turning up. 

*^Well, I'll be literary, and say 'a snow and rose-bloom 
maiden,' " said the Captain, who had been reading Carlj'le. 
" I always think of you in connection with roses and 

The little nose came down, and the Captain's peace was 
made. He began to tell of Indian fights and long marches 
ove^' parched or snow-swept plains, where men and horses 
dropped. Miss Elizabeth, like Desdemona, to hear did 
seriously incline, and the Captain was invited to supper. 



The disappearance of Leecli had strangely affected Miss 
Bush. She was much agitated by it. Her host was sure 
at first that Leecli had gone off ; then he was sure he had 
been murdered. Miss Bush was accustomed to investigate 
for herself. Among her acquaintances was old Peggy, 
who lived in the cabin on the abandoned place. Miss Bush, 
in her round among the negroes, had found the old woman, 
and, in the face of some coldness on the latter's part, had 
persisted in showing her kindness, and had finally won 
her gratitude, if not her friendship. Soon after Leech's 
disappearance she paid old Peggy a visit. Then she went 
to see Miss Welch. If Miss Welch would only use her in- 
fluence with Captain Allen ! Miss Welch had none ; they 
did not even speak. But she made a suggestion. 

So, one evening about dusk, "just after the arrival of 
Thurston with his command, a visitor, deeply veiled, ap- 
plied to the sentinel at the gate of the court-green, and 
asked leave to see Mr. Jacquelin Gray. The sergeant of 
the guard was called, and, after certain formalities, she was 
admitted to the clerk's office ; and a few miiiutes later 
Jacquelin Gray came in. The visitor stated, Avith some 
nervousness, that she wished to see him privately, and 
Jacquelin, wondering what the stranger could want witli 
him, walked with her into the inner office. Even there 
she appeared greatly embarrassed. She evidently did not 
know how to begin, and Jacquelin, to relieve her, asked 
her kindly what he could do for her. 

'^ I have a great favor to ask of you," she said. 



" Well, madam, I do not know what I can do for any- 
one, a prisoner like me," said Jacquelin, smiling half- 
grimly, half-sadly. " But I think I can say that whatever 
I can do I will do." 

" I am sure you can. If you cannot, no one can. I want 
yon to intercede for me with Captain Allen." 

" With Steve ! For you ? Why, I do not know where 
he is ! And I am sure if he knew you wanted anything he 
could grant, he would do it on your own simple request. 
Who are you ? " 

The visitor, after a moment of hesitation, put back her 
veil and faced him. " Don't you remember me ? " she 
asked, timidly. 

Jacquelin looked at her earnestly. For a moment he 
was deeply puzzled ; then, as a faint smile came into her 
eyes, a light broke on him. 

"Why, Miss Bush ! What are you doing here ?" 

" I am teaching school. I am the school-teacher at the 
Bend, Miss May." 

*'Is it possible?" He stepped forward and took her 
hand warmly. " I never knew it. I have heard the name, 
but I never connected it with you. Why did you not let 
me know before ? I am very glad to see you, and I can say 
that anything in the world I can do for you I will do." 

** You must not promise too fast. It is a great favor I 
have to prefer," she said. "And I do not know whether, 
when you hear it, you will be willing to help me." 

"Well, I know. I have not forgotten the hospital." 

She appeared once more deterred from speaking by em- 

" I want you to save Jonadab Leech," she said. 

"What ! What do you know of him ?" asked Jacque- 
lin, in sincere astonishment. 

" I know he is alive." 

" You do ? What do you know of him ? What is he to 

" He is — he was — my husband." 


''Miss Bnsh !" 

" We were separated. But " She stopped in agita- 
tion, pulled down her veil, and turned her face away, 
Jacquelin watched her in silent sympathy. 

" I am sure it was his fault," he said. 

" Yes, I think it was," brokenly, from under her veil. 
'' He was not very kind to me. But I cannot forget that 
he was my husband, and the father of my child." 

" I will do what I can for you," Jacquelin said, kindly. 
" Tell me how you think I can help him. What do you 
know of him ? " 

She composed herself, and told him what she knew. 
She knew where Leech was, and the conditions under 
which he was held. She wanted Jacquelin to interfere 
personally. This alone would save him, she believed. 
The difficulty was to get Jacquelin free. Here her pow- 
ers failed, and she sat looking at Jacquelin in hopeless 

Jacquelin thought deeply. Suddenly he roused himself. 

'' All right. Miss Bush. I will see what I can do. You 
are just in time. The order has come this evening, I hear, 
for us to go to the city to-morrow. I have never asked a 
favor of my keepers ; but I will do it for you, and, if you 
will wait in here, I will let you know if there is any 
chance. " 

He went out, leaving the little school-teacher in the dim 
office. His first visit was to his fellow-prisoner, Mr. Stamp- 
er. It was an extraordinary request that he made of 
Thurston a little later : to be allowed to leave his prison 
for the night, and take Andy Stamper with him, and to be 
lent two good hoi'ses. But it was granted. He promised 
to be back by daylight, and Thurston knew he would be 

" I will be here, dead or alive," said Jacquelin ; and he 
and Andy Stamper rode away in the dusk. 

Leech was awakened from his slumbers that niglit by the 
trampling of many horses outside, and footsteps and voices 


in the rooms above him. He started up in terror ; for 
though he could not catch anything that was said, lie 
knew from the sound that there must be many men in the 
party, and lie felt sure that his time had come. 

He rose and groped around his chamber. By creeping 
up to the chimney and listening intently, he could after 
awhile distinguish a part of what was said. To his rui- 
speakable terror he could hear his own name mentioned 
again and again. The men were a body of Ku Klux, 
and they were debating what should be done with him. 
Most of the voices were low, but now and then one rose. 
He heard one man distinctly give his vote that he should 
be hanged, and, judging from the muffled applause that 
followed, it appeared to meet with much favor. Then he 
heard the name of Steve Allen, and the discussion seemed 
to be heated. Suddenly, in the midst of it, there was a 
general exclamation. A door slammed ; . a heavy tread 
crossed the floor above him, and dead silence fell. It was 
broken by a single voice speaking in the deep tone which 
Leech recognized instantly as Steve Allen's. He gave 
himself up for lost. But he was astonished at the next 
words that caught his ear. Captain Allen's voice was 
clearer than the others, or he was speaking louder, and to 
the prisoner's surprise he was defending him, or, at least, 
was opposing the others. He was evidently angry. Leech 
heard him say he was surprised to find them there and to 
learn why they had come. There was a confused murmur 
at this, and Leech heard one voice calling, "Order! 
Order ! Remember your vows." 

This produced quiet, and the voice said (evidently 
speaking to Captain Allen) : 

"It is the decision of the Supreme Council. We have 
come to take the prisoner and deal with him according to 
our laws." 

" And I tell you," said Captain Allen, his voice ringing 
out clear and perfectly audible, " that I do not recognize 
your laws, and that you shall not have him. He is my 


prisoner, and I will defend him with my life. Yon will 
not get him except over my dead body." 

There was a snppressed mnrmur at this, bnt Captain 
xVllen continued, speaking firmly and boldly. He went 
over the state of affairs in the County, and related his ob- 
ject in capturing Leech to hold him as a hostage for his 
friends and relatives. To do away with him would be to 
destroy the very object with which he had taken him pris- 
oner, and would render himself liable for his murder. This 
he did not propose to allow. He should hold Leech for 
the present, and meantime would be responsible for him; 
and he would allow no one to touch a hair of his head. 

Leech began to breathe again. It was a strange feeling 
to him to be grateful to Steve Allen ; but at that moment 
he could have kissed his feet. There was more talking, 
but too confused for Leech to catch what was said ; and 
whenever Allen spoke it was in the same bold tone, which 
showed that he remained firm ; and, at length. Leech could 
hear the crowd going. They came down outside the 
house, and Leech could hear them getting their horses, 
and, finally, they rode away. One thing, however, terrified 
the prisoner. The voices of two men talking the 
wall reached him from above. One of them was grum- 
bling that CajDtain Allen should have come and prevented 
their carrying out their plan. ^Yho was he, he asked, that 
he could come in and defy the decision of the Supreme 
Council ? He had left the order, and declared that he 
did not recognize them any longer ; and the speaker did 
not like to have him or anyone setting himself up and 
claiming to be above the order. 

" Oh, never mind about that," said the other ; " he 
won't be here all the time. We'll come back some time 
when he is not here, and deal with that dog as he deserves ; 
and then Allen will find out whether he is as big as he 
thinks himself." 

Just then an order was given by someone, and tliey rode 
off, and left Leech with the drops of sweat standing out 


on his forehead. The .sound of their trampling died away, 
and there fell a deep silence, broken for a little while 
by the faint sound of a distant footstep, which Leech be- 
lieved to be that of his captor and guard ; and after a short 
time even this died out, and Leech went back to his bed, 
trembling with fright, and, finally, sank into a fitful slum- 

He had not been asleep a great while when there was 
again a sound of horses trampling. Leech sprang up once 
more, in an agony of terror. He heard a challenge from 
above — " Halt, there ! " — from some one who seemed to be 
a guard, and then a colloquy, in which he could distinguish 
his name ; and then his guard seemed to yield. After a 
short interval he heard the footsteps of several men com- 
ing down th€ stair that led to his door, and there was a 
short consultation outside. He heard someone say, " This 
is the place Steve said he is in ; I know it." 

They tried the door, and then a voice called him, 
"Leech, Leech — Colonel Leech !" He was afraid to an- 
swer. He was almost dead with fright. It called again ; 
and this time he was glad he had not answered, for he 
heard one of the men say, " He forgot to give me the key. 
We'll break in the door. Wait, I'll get an axe/^ 

He went up the stair, and Leech could hear the other 
waiting outside. Leech was sure now that his last hour 
had come. In his terror he ran to the chimney and at- 
tempted to climb up in it. It was too narrow, however ; 
and all he could do was to get up in it a little way and 
draw np his feet. Here he stuck, wedged in, paralyzed 
with terror, while he heard the blows outside under which 
the door was giving way. 

Presently the door was smashed in, and Leech could see 
the light of the torch, or whatever it was, flashed upon 
the floor, and could hear the voices of the men. 

" He isn't in here," he heard one say, and liis heart re- 
vived a little ; but the next second it sank, for he heard 
the searchers say, " There is his bed. He has been in it ; 


so he mnst be here somewhere." They approached the 
chimney, and one of them held his torch np. 

** Here he is," he laughed. " Come out, Colonel." 

He did not wait for Leech to move, but, reaching up, 
caught liim by the leg and pulled him down amid a cloud 
of dust and soot. Leech must have presented a strange ap- 
pearance, for the men, who were masked, burst out laugh- 
ing. Leech began to pray for his life, but the men only 

" Come on, Colonel. We'll present you to your friends as 
you are," said one of them, the smaller. "' You ought to 
be pleased with your looks, for you look just like one of 
your friends. You wouldn't know yourself from a nigger." 

Leech recognized iVndy Stamper, and knew he was lost. 
Andy had escaped. He began to beg him, and to make him 
all sorts of promises, which Andy cut sliort. 

" Oh, pshaw ! Come along. Shut up. This is no time 
for you to be making promises. Come along, and keep 
your mouth shut." 

They seized him, and dragged him up the steps and 
through a door out into the darkness. There, at a little 
distance, were two horses, on one of which Andy Stamper 
sprang, while the other man made Leech mount np be- 
hind him ; and then, springing on 'the other horse himself, 
they set off at a sharp trot. As tliey mounted. Leech rec- 
ognized Jacquelin Gray. He nearly fell from his horse. 

As they followed wood-paths he began to have a dim 
hope ; not much, liowever, for he could not think that 
these two men could intend him any good. Once, as they 
were on a road, the sound of horses' feet aliead reached 
them, and the two riders instantly left the road and struck 
into the bushes. 

" If you get out of this," said Andy Stamper, "'and get 
back safe to your friends, will you swear you'll never say a 
word about it to anybody ? Never a single ?" 

" Yes, I'll swear. 1 swear before " said the prisoner, 

so quickly that the other had not time to finish his question. 


"That you will never toll anyone a word about this 
place, or how you got here, or how you were taken, or any- 
thing ? " 

" Yes, yes. I swear before G — d I never will — never a 
word. I swear I won't." 

" Let's see. How will you swear it ? " asked the other, 

" I'll swear it on the Bible. I'll swear on a stack of 

" We ain't got any Bibles," said the other, dryly. 

" I'll give you my word of honor as a gentleman." 

The other only grunted. He was not much impressed. 

" I'll swear before " 

Mr. Stamper suddenly roused up to the necessities of 
the occasion. 

" Here," he said, quickly. '' Do you swear that, if you 
ever breathe a word as to how you got here, who brought 
you, or who took you away, or anything you saw here, or 
anything about the place at all, you hope G — d will strike 
you dead, and d — n you in h — 1 fire ?" 

" Yes. I'll swear it," said Leech, fervently. " I hojie 
he will d — n me forever if I do." 

" And strike you dead ? " repeated Andy, not to admit 
any loophole. 

'' Yes." 

" If that don't keep him nothin' will," said Andy, dryly, 
half -aloud; and then he added, for further security : " Well, 
you'd better keep it, for if you don't, the earth won't be big 
enough to hide you. You won't have another chance." 

As they waited, a body of horsemen, heavily muffled, rode 
silently along the road they had just left, and passed out of 
sight into the woods behind them. It was a body of Ku 
Klux making their way back home, or, perhaps, back to 
the house from which Leech had just been taken. The 
two rescuers rode on and at length emerged into a field, 
and, crossing it, dismounted behind a clump of buildings. 

The eastern sky was just beginning to redden with the 


first glimmer of dawn ; and the cheep of a bird announcing 
it was heard in the trees as the men tied their horses. 

" Come on," said Andy. *' In a little while you can 
make your promises." They led Leech between them, half- 
dead with fright and fatigue, and, helping him over a wall, 
dragged him up to a door, and, opening it, walked in. 

" Who's that ? " asked a man, rising from a sofa, where 
he had evidently been asleep. 

" Here we are ; back on time," said Jacquelin, gravely. 

" Ah ! you've got back ? Wait. I'll strike a light. 
Who's this with you ? " 

" A prisoner," said Andy, with mock solemnity; ''but 
whether white or black you'll have to tell." 

The man struck a light, and Leech, to his astonishment, 
found himself in the presence of a Federal officer — of 
Eeely Thurston. 

The two men stared at each other in blank amazement. 
And it is probable that, if at that moment their happiness 
in finding their chief wish gratified could have been marred, 
it would have been by the fact that they owed this to each 
other. Perhaps something of this kind must have appeared 
in their faces, for Jacquelin laughed. 

" Well, you two can settle matters between you. We are 
off — to jail," he said. " Now, Major Leech, you can make 
good your promises ; and it will depend on whether you see 
fit to do so or not, whether we have done a good act or not. 
Good-night." He and Andy went off. 

The next day the prisoners were sent to the city under 
Captain Thurston's personal guard, the little Captain, for 
liis own private reasons, deciding to take them himself. 
Leech accompanied them. 



The vows of a considerable part of the human race are 
said to be writ in water, but it is by no means only that 
sex to whom the poet has attributed this quality, which 
possesses it. Quite another part of the race is liable to 
forget vows made under conditions that have changed. 
And Major Leech was of this number. He no sooner 
found himself free and guarded by a power strong enough 
to protect him than he forgot the oaths he had sworn 
so volubly to Andy Stamper that night when he stood 
in the darkness of the deserted plantation ; and he ap- 
plied himself with all his energy to rejjair his fortunes 
and revenge himself. His enemies were in his power. 
With them free he might have to undergo trial himself ; 
with them under indictment for offences against the Gov- 
ernment, even if they were not convicted, he vras free to 
push forward his plans. It was too great a temptation for 
him to resist, too good an opportunity for him to pass by ; 
and perhaps even Andy Stamper did not blame him, or 
even expect him to forego it. 

The story the returned captive told of his wrongs was 
one strange enough to move hearts even less inclined to 
espouse his cause than those of the authorities into whose 
ears he poured it, and almost immediately after his arrival 
the machinery of the law was set in motion. His grudge 
against Captain Thurston was as great as that against the 
residents of the County — indeed greater ; for he professed 
some gratitude for Jacquelin Gray and Stamper, and even 



had an oifer made them of a sort of pardon, conditional on 
their making a full confession of their crimes. But inves- 
tigation showed him that for the present he would weaken 
himself by attempting to attack Thurston. Thurston had 
secured his release. So for the time being he was content 
to leave the Captain alone, and apply all his energies to 
the prosecution of the enemies against whom he was as- 
sured of success. 

In a little while he had his grand jury assembled, and 
the prisoners were all indicted. An early time was set for 
their trial. Dr. Gary was among those indicted. 

In this state of the case, it appeared- to the Doctor that 
the time had come when he could no longer with pro- 
priety refrain from aj^plying for help to his old friend. 
Senator Rockfield, who had asked him to call on him. It 
was no longer a private matter, but a public one. It was 
not himself alone that was concerned, but his nearest 
friends and neighbors ; and in such a case he could no 
longer stand on his pride. Already the prison was in 
view ; and the path seemed very straight, and tlie Avay of 
escape seemed blocked on every side. Stej) by step they 
had been dragged along ; every avenue shut off ; all the 
old rights refused ; and it looked as if they were doomed. 

So Dr. Gary sat down in prison and wrote a letter to his 
old college-mate, setting forth the situation in which he 
found himself and his friends, giving him a complete 
statement of the case and of all the circumstances relating 
to it, and asked that, if in his power, the Senator would 
help him. 

He told him that unless some action were takeji prompt- 
ly he saw no escape, and that he seemed doomed to a 
felon's cell. The Doctor told his friend that, while he 
had been present for a little while with the masked mob 
that broke into the jail, he had been so for the purpose of 
trying to dissuade them from any act of lawlessness ; and 
the part he had taken could be proved by a hundred wit- ■ 
nesses. But all those who had been arrested were indicted 


with him, which would prevent their testifying for him ; 
and if any others were to come forward, to testify, they 
would simply subject themselves to immediate arrest. 

" I can give you no idea," he wrote, " of the condition 
of affairs here, and. shall offer no proof except my word. 
Unless you and I have changed since we knew each other 
man to man in that old time long ago, no other proof will 
be necessary ; yet if I should attempt to give you a true 
picture, I should strain your credulity. 

" I think I can say, with Cicero, it is not my crimes, 
but my virtues that have destroyed me. 

"But if you wish to know the whole state of the case, I 
would ask you to come down and see for yourself. Un- 
fortunately I shall not be able personally to extend to you 
the hospitality of my home ; but if you will go to my house, 
my wife and daughter will show you every attention, and 
do everything in their power to promote your comfort. 

" Lying in jail as I am, under indictment for a scan- 
dalous crime, with the penitentiary staring me in the face, 
I perhaps should not sign myself as I do ; yet when I call 
to mind the long and distinguished line of men of virtue 
who have suffered the same fate, and reflect on my own 
consciousness of integrity, I believe you would not have 
me subscribe myself otherwise tlian as, 

" Your old friend, John Caky." 

This letter reached Senator Rockfield at an auspicious 
time, one evening after dinner, when he was resting 
quietly at home, enjoying a good cigar, and when his 
heart was mellow. It happened that certain measures 
were pending just then, to secure which the Senator's in- 
fluence was greatly desired. It also happened that a num- 
ber of other measures of a very radical character had late- 
ly been proposed ; and the Senator had gone somewhat 
deeply into the subject, with the result of unearthing an 
appalling state of affairs in the whole section from which 
this letter came. Moreover, Captain Middleton hajiiiened 


to be <at the Senator's lionse at that very time, and added 
certain details to those the Senator had learned, which 
stirred the Senator deeply. 

The Senator's part in the release of the prisoners that 
shortly followed Dr. Gary's letter was not known even to 
Dr. Gary for some time, and was never known generally. 

Senator Rockfield read Br. Gary's letter all through 
twice, and then leaned back in his big chair and thought 
profoundly. The letter dropped from his hand to the 
floor, and his cigar went out. His wife, seeing that some- 
thing was moving him deeply, watched him anxiously, 
and at length asked: "What is it?" For answer, the 
Senator merely picked up the letter, handed it to her across 
the table, and again sat back in deep thought. She read 
it, and looked at him more anxiously than before, her face 
paling somewhat. His face, which before had been soft 
with reminiscence, had grown stern. He was conscious 
that she was looking at him, and conscious of her thoughts 
as she was of his. Suddenly he rose to his feet. 

*' Where are you going ? " she asked, though iu reality 
she knew. 

** To send a telegram." 


'' No, I am going to see Secretary " 

He folded the letter and put it into his pocket. At the 
mention of the name, the light sprang into her eyes — the 
light of contest. She knew that it would be a crucial in- 
terview, and that her husband's future would depend on it. 

" Shall I ring for the carriage ? " 

"No, I will walk. I want to cool myself off a little." 
He stopped as he reached the door. " He was the first 
gentleman of our class," he said. He went out. 

A half-hour later. Senator Rockfield was admitted to 
the study or private office of the Secretary who had the 
direction of matters affecting the South and who controlled 
everything whicli related to it. 

He was a man of iron constitution, a tremendous 


worker, and his study at his home was only a private apart- 
ment of his office in the great Government building in 
which he presided. His ambition was to preside in a 
greater building, over the whole Government. He gave his 
life to it. Every other consideration was subordinated. It 
was a proof of the Senator's influence that he was admitted 
to see him at that hour. And at the instant he appeared 
the Secretary was busy writing a momentous document. 
As the Senator entered, however, he shot a swift, keen 
glance at him, and his face lit up. He took his appear- 
ance at that hour as a proof that he had yielded, or, at 
least, was yielding. 

" Ah ! Senator. Glad to see you," he said, with a smile 
which he could make gracious. " I was just thinking of 
you. I hope I may consider your visit a token of peace ; 
that you recognize the wisdom of our position." 

He was speaking lightly, but the Senator did not re- 
spond in the same vein. His face did not relax. 

'' No, far from it," he said. Without noticing the chair 
to which the Secretary waved him, he took Dr. Gary's letter 
from his pocket and laid it on the table under the Secre- 
tary's nose. " Head that." 

The Secretary's face clouded. He took up the letter and 
glanced at it ; then began to read it cursorily. As he did 
so his face assumed another expression. 

" Well, what of this ? " he asked, coldly. He looked at 
the Senator superciliously. His manner and the sneer on 
his face were like a blow. The Senator's face flushed. 

" Just this. That I say this thing has got to stop, by 
G — d ! " He towered above the Secretary and looked him 
full in the eyes. He did not often show feeling. When he 
did he was impressive. A change passed over the other's face. 

"And if it don't ?" 

*' I shall rise in my seat to-morrow morning and de- 
nounce the whole administration. I shall turn the whole 
influence of my paper against you, and shall fight you to 
the end." 


" Oh I you won't be so foolish ! " sneered the SecretarJ^ 

" I will not ! Wait and see ! " He leant over and took 
np the paper. " I bid you good-eveniug." lie put on his 
liat and turned to the door. Before he reached it, how- 
ever, the other had reflected. 

'' Wait. Don't be so hasty." 

The Senator paused. The Secretary had risen and was 
following him. 

" My dear Senator, let me reason with you. I think if 
you give me ten minutes, I can show you the folly " 

Senator Rockfield stiffened. " Good-evening, Mr. 
Secretary." He turned back to the door. 

" Hold on. Senator, I beg you," said the Secretary. 
The Senator turned, this time impatiently. '' What 
guarantee have I that this letter is true ? " asked the 
other, temporizing. 

"My word. I was at college with the writer of